Cheerleading is an intense physical activity based upon organized routines, usually ranging anywhere from one to three minutes, which contains many components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers and stunting in order to direct spectators of events to cheer for sports teams at games or to participate in cheerleading competitions. The athlete involved in cheerleading is called a cheerleader. -Wikipedia
“It is…objectionable if everyone involved in an NFL contest is making buckets of money, except for the cheerleaders. That's the case, and that is a form of exploitation. The NFL will have about $8 billion in revenue this season, and Green Bay, the one team that discloses financial information (the Packers are publicly owned), showed a profit of $20 million last year. There's plenty of money in professional football. But only crumbs go to the cheerleaders. NFL teams are believed to pay cheerleaders approximately $100 per game. (Several teams used to post cheerleader audition FAQs on their Web sites that included such info.) Some throw in two game tickets. Don't spend it all in the same place!” -Gregg Easterbrook, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, ESPN.com
"I don't want to support lesbianism, I don't want to support Planned Parenthood, and I don't want to support abortion. And if that be the case, I'm not buying Girl Scout cookies... Understand what a biblical approach to raising sons and raising daughters is all about, and be very, very careful how you do it. Are you trying to create a woman who's gonna compete with men in the marketplace, or are you trying to create a woman to be a helpmate to a man so that he can compete in the marketplace?" -Pastor Kevin Swanson, "Generations Radio"
We’re facing a myriad of crisis’s on a global scale, climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification, Huell Howser, over fishing, invasive species, GMO zombie apocalypses, worldwide drought, declining bee populations, antibiotic resistant bacterial diseases, extraordinary weather events (like the tornadoes hitting Illinois), universe instability, overpopulation, Japan’s declining population, homosexual insects, extreme poverty and hunger, under funding primary and secondary education, gender inequality (including allowing Saudi Arabian women to drive), child mortality and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, not to mention the 15 global challenges posed by the The Millennium Project: 1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change? 2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict? 3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance? 4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes? 5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives? 6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone? 7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor? 8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced? 9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change? 10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction? 11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition? 12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises? 13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently? 14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition? 15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?
Daunting tasks that need immediate attention, if not sooner, as in the case of global warming, that some scientists say we are too late to hold off, we’ve already passed the tipping point due to the world’s inaction thereby passing along to our children a planet with increasing sea levels, desertification, and virulent weather patterns that are guaranteed to get much worse before they get better several hundred thousand years after humans become extinct.
And now we face an even greater problem, one that is entirely “human caused” despite the many claims to the contrary made by the deniers of the right, and that is the shameless exploitation of America’s professional cheerleaders, and of course the related difficulty of the global proliferation of Communist/Lesbian/Pro-Choice Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts being a primary source of future cheerleaders.
This post is my humble attempt to address these two pressing issues.
Did you know that cheerleading is a uniquely American phenomenon (although some would say that cheering a sports team on from the stands, or from the spectators, originated in England in 1883. Some might say that but not me)? Yep, it’s true. The very first official cheer (the information on who made it official is lost to us through the fog of time) wasn’t performed until 1884 at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the very state where my lovely ex-case manager was born, many, many years ago. Many. A whole bunch of years ago.
Those crazy folks in the stands watching the game would cheer on and chant things to encourage their team to win at all costs. Even the team members would participate now and then.
One guy who had witnessed this stole the idea of cheering on sports teams and transfered it to the University of Minnesota, where fat people learn how to play pool.
This guy’s name was Mark Peebles, and he organized the cheers, making them specific for each game. He would even lead the crowds during football games. But another student, Johnny Campbell, stole Peebles idea and coordinated the entire football team to lead the crowd. The first time he did that, November 2nd, 1898, Campbell was considered the world’s first official cheerleader (you know... official, don’t know, fog and all that).
When most people think about cheerleading, they think of girls in short skirts. I know I do. But it began as a very sexist activity for men only. That very same University of Minnesota created a “Yell Squad” made up of six guys, which in turn led to the founding of the cheer fraternity Gamma Sigma (not to be confused with New York’s Gamma Sigma Sigma, who are straight) in 1903. In 1905 Texas A&M created “The Cheerleading State” which was a bunch of guys who led the crowd at football and basketball games.
Two of our presidents, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt were members of cheer squads in their college days. I wonder if their wives knew.
Cheerleading began to be considered a sport in itself, but was still dominated by men until the 1920‘s, when the crowds attending these games got fed up with watching guys prance around in short skirts.
After women won the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the next logical progression was to take over cheerleading, which they began to do in 1923. On December 8th, 1941, ex-cheerleader Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day. Three days later Adolph Hitler of Germany declared war on us, the United States, citing as justification the American attacks on German submarines that had been sinking our destroyers simply because our destroyers were involved with shipping money, munitions, and food to our allies who were already at war with Germany. On December 11th, 1941, we declared war back on Germany, and Italy as well because of the proliferation of pizza from Naples throughout the western hemisphere (on January 5th, 1942 we declared war on Romania because of the proliferation of vampires. We declared war on Bulgaria and Hungry, because there’s nothing worse than a Bulgarian or Hungry vampire (my God did I write that, oh the shame!)). Anyway, during the war over 16 million Americans participated. Some were women, but most were men. That’s when the women struck like vipers, taking advantage of the men’s absence to take over cheerleading (and baseball, i.e., “A League of Their Own.” (“There’s no crying in baseball!”)). Once women took over, cheerleading began to incorporate tumbling, dancing, jumping, and stunting because it’s a well known fact that women are much more bendy then men. Props like the megaphone and pom-poms (derived from the French word pompon, which refers to a small decorative ball made of fabric or feathers, and used for five reasons: to attract the attention of the spectators, to accentuate movements, to add "sparkle" to a cheer, chant, or dance routine, to spell out teams name or "go," and to distract the opposing team, which seems to be a main goal of cheerleading, hence the jumping and short skirts) were also incorporated.
In 1948 Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer (my invisible cat’s namesake), a former Southern Methodist University cheerleader, formed the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA). They hosted the first ever documented cheer clinic one year later in Huntsville, Texas, with just 52 young ladies in attendance. The camp was so popular, that the next year’s attendance shot up to 350 jumping, dancing, and gyrating girls.
Lawrence was also the inventor of the “Herkie,” which is a famous cheerleading jump, similar to a side-hurdler and the abstract double hook.
The jump was invented inadvertently when Herkimer tripped over a discarded pom pom.
The NCA still exists, and continues to be one of the biggest cheerleading organizations in the United States, and hosts hundreds of camps and competitions yearly.
It first cheerleading only took place at colleges, but with the advent of all of these camps and clinics during the 40s, younger ladies wanted some of this attention too. In 1950, a high school squad named the Santa Cruz 49er’s went to a NCA camp hosted by Herkimer. They were the first non-collegiate team to attend. So high school girls got into the act, which inspired younger girls in Pop Warner organizations (Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS) is a non-profit organization that provides youth football and cheer & dance programs for participants currently in 42 states and several countries around the world. Consisting of approximately 425,000 young people ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheer and dance program in the world). Girls as young as five began to cheer, which was the original inspiration for Jethro Tull’s signature song “Aqualung.”
At the present time over 80% of public schools in the United States have cheerleading teams with a majority of the members between the ages of 12 and 17. There are over 3.4 million registered cheerleaders in the nation, and the sport only continues to grow.
I emphasized the word sport in the last paragraph because that is what it has become. Cheerleading for the sake of cheerleading. Teams wanted to see how their athletic skills stacked up against other teams in a formal, independently judged, objective setting, and soon the International Cheerleading Foundation (now the WCA) was formed (and it’s sister organization, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE)).
The first ranked competitions started in 1967 and participating teams would battle each other for the titles of “Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads” and “Cheerleading All America.”
In 1972, Title IX was passed, a federal law put in place to ensure equal opportunities for men and women in educational programs and athletic activities at schools. This opened up competitive sports for female athletes and dramatically changed the face of cheerleading (although, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that competitive cheerleading does not yet meet the standards of a varsity sport under Title IX in August of 2012). The sport became much more athletic and further incorporated advanced tumbling, jumping, gyrating, and stunts to evolve with the new freedoms of the bill that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would later nullify. What can you say... freaking activist judges, probably republicans.
However, it was around the time when Title IX passed that the first professional cheerleading teams were established through the National Football League (NFL).
The Indianapolis Colts were the first professional football team to have it’s own cheerleading squad, but it wasn’t until the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders started prancing around half naked and displayed “over-the-top routines," that the sport gained national attention during the 1972-73 season.
The sport continued to grow spreading to different sports like basketball (the Laker Girls that Eddie Murphy likes so much) and bowling, and to different countries, such as Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Liechtenstein (the FC Vaduz Wildcats).
I would like to take this opportunity to state for the record that when asked if she had ever been a cheerleader, my lovely ex-case manager Erin said, “Hell no!”
When asked the same question, my lovely current yoga teacher Beth replied less stridently, and in the negative.
Okay, it takes a lot of work to be a good cheerleader. It is certainly not easy, I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure. You can get hurt being a cheerleader just like in any other sport. And in the case of professional cheerleaders, they have become, and are, an attraction on their own. Not many people know this but Jack Nicholson, the famous actor, hates basketball, but you can see him sitting in court side seats at almost every Lakers game because he likes to watch the Laker Girls... just like Eddie Murphy. I sympathize with Jack, and to a lesser extent Eddie. Basketball is more boring than baseball and golf combined (maybe those sports, if you can call them that, should get their own cheerleaders). I mean it’s basically two or three hours of watching a bunch of freakishly tall multimillionaires run back and forth. Whoopee! Croquet is less boring than basketball.
Anyway, you would think that these ladies who bring so much to their respective franchises would be well compensated, wouldn’t you?
I mean the NFL enjoys a tax exempt status (Why? How in God’s sweet name do they get to make millions in profit and remain tax exempt? Corporate welfare anyone? Here’s a petition to put and end to this nonsense), and has revenues of over $9 billion according to Forbes Magazine, who knows everybody’s freaking business (they even know how much I make, which is really weird). So you would think that they would pay a vital part of their enterprise which is highly skilled, well thought of and respected, and a legitimate draw in their own right, well, wouldn’t you? I would.
But they don’t. They don’t pay these poor girls well at all. If you ask me they’re being exploited by greedy franchise owners, who have no problem at all paying their male players millions, and the ladies who bring in millions, a pittance.
That’s right, exploited cheerleaders... not babysitters, like poor Bree Olsen and the Milton Twins.
Different franchises reimburse their cheerleaders differently, but most in the NFL are not salaried, or even permanent employees (after all, some might gain a pound or two, something that dosen’t seem to matter for the players), but are rather paid on a per-game basis, and for as little as $50! That’s fifty dollars all spelled out!
We commonly see these lovely girls prancing about on a weekly basis in precise, choreographed routines, wearing skimpy clothes, often in God awful weather conditions, and that’s not easy! I know, I’ve tried it myself. For $50! Some veteran elite cheerleaders may get a salary of anywhere from $200 to $1,000 a month, which is almost like making $50 a game (4 games a month), going all the way up to $12,000 a year!
I make more money than that, and my income is comprised of turning in empty Classic Coke cans (none of that Pepsi crap thank you)!
Granted some of these girls get some extras, like money for appearances, or the thrill of participating in a glamorous activity in front of millions of fans in person and on TV.
Cheerleadering can be a stepping stone on to further career opportunities, like ex-Laker Girl Paula Abdul, who went on to become an erratic judge on “American Idol.” But how many Paula Abduls do we have in the world (one), and McDonalds Inc. says the same thing about their burger flippers.
In actuality most cheerleaders might as well be working for McDonalds as they make about as much money considering all of the hours they put in.
Cheerleaders enjoy no job security. They have to go through a grueling audition process. They don’t get paid for long practices. They don’t get paid for having their picture taken. They’re not provided with health insurance, and if they get sick or injured they get fired. They’re forced to pay for they’re own gear and transportation, and can get fired for anything thing at all, that’s what no job security means.
The pictures taken of cheerleaders which promote their teams are uncompensated, while the players and coaches get paid for theirs. Some cheerleading squads like Dallas have their own corporate sponsors. Does that corporate money trickle down to their cheerleaders? Nope?
Suck on that Reagan.
And as we’ve discussed, cheerleaders rake in tons of cash for their teams, but don’t share in the profits... just like at McDonalds!
Cheerleaders are not covered by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
So what’s the answer dear readers. Well, like those who work at fast food restaurants, they should unionize. We need cheerleader unions as quickly as possible, tomorrow if it can be arranged.
Unions are needed to fight for cheerleader rights... like the right to unionize. Cheerlearders need to be paid salaries commensurate with their skills and the amount of revenue they generate for their employers. Cheerleaders need to be paid for overtime in games that run overtime. They need to get sick leave, maternity leave, travel pay, and vacations. They need to get pensions, not those stupid 401Ks. Coaches should consult with senior cheerleaders on which plays are run, coordinating distraction techniques with aggressive ground play.
They need Obamacare.
And a host of other issues just as important.
Cheerleaders are an integral part of American society and America needs to recognize this fact!
Just like housewives, who need to unionize as well.
And I’m not freaking kidding!
Not so with Girl Scouts. They are a menace and need to be eliminated as fast as possible. Tomorrow if it can be arranged.
Oh I know, you may think of them as being sweet, and industrious little girls organizing to learn about their own capabilities and what their place will be in the world.
“The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. Founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, it was organized after Low met Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting [modern Boy Scouts], in 1911. Upon returning to Savannah, Georgia, she telephoned a distant cousin, saying, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!" -Wikipedia
An ominous sounding statement knowing what we now do of this infamous organization.
“It's been a long slide for the Girl Scouts” according to Kathryn Jean Lopez, associate editor for the National Review in 2000. First, as James Davison Hunter points out in his new book The Death of Character, they dropped "loyalty" from their oath in 1972, in favor of "I will do my best to be honest and fair." In 1975, a Catholic archdiocese cut off all support of the Girl Scouts because of their sex-ed program. In 1993, the Girl Scouts made "God" optional in the Girl Scout Promise: "On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout Law." (The Boy Scouts, meanwhile, have been sued over keeping God obligatory in their oath.)”
At first glance it would appear that anyone having anything to do with the Girl Scouts uses a hyphenated name, with or without the hyphen (I’m waiting patiently to learn of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s contribution to this subject). Yet as we see in the last quote above, Pastor Kevin Swanson maintains the Girl Scouts are clearly lesbians, feminists, and abortion happy pro-choicers, who are being trained to subvert their Biblical roles as subservient support vehicles for their male counterparts by competing with men in the market place by selling Peanut Butter Patties. As we all know, if the Bible says it’s so it must be true.
Emily Shire of “The Week" magazine, quite rightly points out, “Every time you eat a Thin Mint cookie an innocent, adorable Girl Scout becomes a radical, communist lesbian.”
The proof that Girl Scouts are communists is so obvious I won’t even go in to it.
Joyce’s Take’s own Erin, my lovely ex-case manager, has admitted to me personally that she was at one time a Girl Scout. A Brownie even! Yes I know! Sweet, innocent Erin! Who could know she was at one time a commie subversive (and may still be for all we know. She subversively shared some of her Sprite drink with me just last week, and expressed a desire to appear of the FX television show, ”The Americans”).
Of course I asked what it was exactly that she did while a Brownie/Girl Scout, but she was very Manchurian Candidateishly vague, stating that all she could remember was going to some kind of camp (re-education camp?), and hearing the The Cranberries song “Dreams,” on the radio while be driven there, and once there, entertaining her fellow commie subversives by singing “Castle on a Cloud,” from “Les Miserables,” who listened raptly, erupting in appreciative applause as she finished.
Suspiciously that is all she remembers of her experience, all she will remember, possibly all she was programmed to remember. Let us hope that she never attempts to assassinate Hillary Clinton.
Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush have all served as honorary leaders of the Girl Scouts, as do all First Ladies, so we better keep a watchful eye on them as well.
And about that Girl Scout Promise which mentions the Girl Scout Law, well what Law is that I wonder? Satan’s law? Yes indeed, and here it is:
“I will do my best to be, Honest and fair, Friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, Courageous and strong, Responsible for what I say and do, And to respect myself and others, Respect authority, Use resources wisely, Make the world a better place, And be sister to every Girl Scout.”
Damn you Girl Scouts! Damn you to the rich, full, sweet Hell you deserve!
Petition to get NFL cheerleaders a living wage
Raider's cheerleaders sue over horrendous working conditions
Anti-choice group calls to boycott Girl Scout cookies for "endorsing" Wendy Davis
On a personal note, lovely Erin (last picture above), my ex-case manager, is at the moment I write this, waiting at Los Angeles International Airport with her sedated paranoid/schizophrenic dog Bear, to board an aircraft to New Jersey, where her family supposedly lives. She is relocating after spending 10 years out here in paradise. I was lucky to have known her for 5 of those years.
All of us here at Joyce’s Take will miss her, and wish her continued good fortune, health and well being. Goodbye and good luck Erin!