Last night I took my 10 year old granddaughter to cheerleading practice for the “Bear Cubs.”

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

The cubs are from kindergarten through fifth grade. There were over 200 cubs for this two hour session. Friday night is the high school’s homecoming and they will perform at half time. It was a feat of organization that 200 girls learned three cheers and some moves in two hours. Most impressive if only for the crowd control.

I should admit that I have strong feelings for women’s sports and all the benefits they provide to our girls. I should also admit that I am unsure that cheerleading is a sport.

My son had, in high school, very strong negative feelings about the cheerleaders. Some of that came directly from a football game where his team had the ball and the cheer was “Push’m, Push’m, way back.” I certainly understood his issue but suggested that he keep an open mind since there weren’t that many sports open to girls then and what if he met a woman he really connected with on many levels and she had been a cheerleader in high school.

As it happens his wife was a high school cheerleader and a college rugby player. She is a sports fan and as enthusiastic as he for football.

This clinic for the cubs is a fundraiser. It cost $60 for the training, a T-shirt and a pair of pompoms. I decided there was a bit of genius in this strategy. I wondered if we could recruit millenial political volunteers the same way. Hmmm.

A couple other points. When my sons were growing up in the same school system, the kids of color were primarily adoptees with a few Latinos starting to move in. Last night 20% of the girls were kids of color including the varsity cheerleaders who were leading the groups. Progress. Definitely progress. There were no boys in either the varsity squad, the middle school squad or the cub contingent. Hmm.

I still have my reservations about cheerleading and I am hoping that for my granddaughter, soccer wins over the pompom crew. I am keeping my thoughts to myself. Girls should exist for more than cheering on the boys. On the other hand, if boy cheerleaders existed for women’s sports, I might feel a bit better. Change is so hard sometimes.


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