Thursday, June 01, 2006

Guilt, hypocrisy, and the Cheer Aesthetic

Guilt, hypocrisy,
and the Cheerleading "Aesthetic"

Sep 1, 2006 ( I changed the post date to June, because I thought this one was pretty controversial and I want to honor Boyer Valley, and frankly, protect myself from any readers who might be offended by any of the content of this post- please be remember: This is not an official BVCS site. The views expressed here and the links provided here are not necessarily those of the school, it's administrators or board. This site is the sole responsibility of Coach.)

Rena spoke to me in private, but I just as well make this issue public- because I'm the only one who it makes look bad. She didn't understand why I let Sasha on when we didn't have a uniform to fit her when another friend of her asked me a couple of times the first week of school, but I told her that she couldn't come out because we didn't have enough uniforms.

The most correct answer is, I barely thought about it so, obviously I look like a jerk.

The best answer is, Sasha cheered in junior high and knows what she's doing so we won't have to spend a nightmarish amount of time teaching her everything from the ground up. And I feel pretty connected to Sasha, no rapport with this other girl. I don't know why Sasha didn't come out in the first palce last Spring, but she wants to get active and hopes cheer helps her with that. Every year she's shown enormous amounts of school spirit and purple pride, coming to away games and wearing outlandish outfits. So I didn't even think twice (although for the sake of the other girl and for fairness, I should have) when Sasha asked me.

The hard, ugly most brutally honest answer is that I have serious reservations about the other girl, some for her sake, some for mine, some shallow ones for the squad and program. She's got stellar grades, but my perception is that she has a severe lack of coordination and rhythm. My conversations about her with collegues leads me to believe that she also lacks social skills and experience that would help her be a cheerleader. These are both things that my own daughter struggles with, so I feel like I'd be labeling or prejudging someone unfairly. She did approach me herself and that takes courage itself, so presumably she she has either the guts (or at least the obliviousness) to perform infront of hundreds of people. And yes, she's kind of heavy-set. I've never let that stop me from recruiting, let alone permitting girls from cheering in 13 years. Hell, I'm way over weight myself. Cheerleading is a very brutal fishbowl- the whole school, sometimes the whole community are looking at you and talking about you.

Year after year mean, insensitive smartassed boys make fun of cheerleaders. This is a season where you could say we have more bases then flyers. I will bend over backwards to make sure these girls we have feel good about their self body images. Every cheer coach needs to be aware of eating disorders. It's not fair, but its real. So yes, as cruel and unfair as it is, part of me wants to shelter this girl because she's really sweet. And at the same time, I know that other squad memebers might, former cheerleaders would, and members of the student body most certainly would complain or criticize her/us/me if I had let her join.

This makes me feel like an absolute monster and I'll never be able to make it right or make it up to Rena or this girl- especially when I've been whining about not having enough cheerleaders or having a squad that is in such constant flux. But I'd remind Rena, and any other readers, that we had 3 candidates come to tryouts last Spring. Neither Rena, Sasha or this other girl were among them. Jessica was, but her goofy brother/guardian thinks that that cheer is sissy and won't let her be on squad.

You kow what they say "you go to the war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had." Unfortunately, I'm kinda making this up as I go along. I never want to be unfair or hurtfull, but that may not be possible. So, if I have to legislate an official policy it's this, that if you're willing to work you can- IF YOU'VE EVER CHEERED BEFORE. That's the policy for now, but next season you still have to try out.

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