Something that I am a firm believer of is that the world needs cheerleaders. I actually can’t imagine what life would be like without them. This is not to say that I idolize them in any sense of the word. I honestly appreciate them and what they “bring to the table”. While I may not be the biggest athlete or fan of all competitive sports, professional or amateur; I see the value that cheerleaders provide both in sports and in life.
In sports, we look to the cheerleader to stir up the crowd and get them excited about the game, the players, and the hope for a victorious outcome. Much of this is done through great athleticism and boundless energy. When the team is struggling, the cheerleader strives to reignite the passion of both the fan and the team, to encourage and to awaken both to the reality that all is not lost until the final play has been played.
Sadly, cheerleaders have for generations been abused and taken advantage of. In some respects, it’s because many have forgotten the purpose of the cheerleader. In other respects, humanity has seldom shown the honor and respect due them.
Now, while we know that there are men and boys who cheer, I want to focus primarily on women and girls who cheer, since they make up the majority and face the larger brunt of harassment and abuse. In this present #MeToo age that we find ourselves in, I was not surprised to learn of certain types of abuse that has been faced by cheerleaders, such as is reported by Bailey Davis to Inside Edition.
As a father, I look at this and other stories like it and am deeply saddened by the reality that so many women face, all in the name of entertainment and employment. I’m partly saddened because I know that it could very well be my wife or daughter under such unwarranted behavior by men who have little, if any respect for these women and the work they do. I’m also saddened because I know that this poor treatment of women and girls has been allowed to exist over years.
In spite of all the negative publicity, the negative and undeserved treatment that cheerleaders deal with from day to day, I want to communicate a simple message to every cheerleader: You deserve to be appreciated, affirmed, and applauded. It’s time for the cheerleader to be cheered for, celebrated, and congratulated for everything you bring to sports and the mountain of arts and celebration. You help shape culture by bringing the passion, excitement, hope, and expectancy of victory in good times and bad.
It’s my hope that in the days ahead, every cheerleader will find her own cheerleader(s) who will cheer, encourage and uplift her. Know that there are men in this world who understand that you deserve to be respected, not ridiculed; revered, not reviled; treasured, not trashed. Know that life without cheerleaders to keep the crowds in and into the games that we watch would lose a great deal of the luster that has been brought to the sports and entertainment industries.
It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Those who have truly been called to the mountain of arts and entertainment to be cheerleaders are most likely anointed as exhorters. It is my prayer that those who have taken up the mantle of being the cheerleaders as a profession or anywhere in life will come to know a life that is much more favorable, enjoyable and respected by all. I pray also that you are able to continue to spread more light and glory wherever you find yourselves. Do not allow the darkness of others to cloud or overshadow you. Continue to spread your light and sunshine. Know that you have at least one person rooting for you, though I’m quite sure there are millions more.
QUESTION: If you are a cheerleader by profession, what one way that you believe fans can help to cheer you on?