I've been writing something between class sessions (writing xhtml code- very dry)
It isn't done, but if it works out, I may try submitting it to some magazines. Let me know what you think-
Purpose Driven Cheerleading
A few years ago an upstart pastor from California, Rick Warren wrote a record breaking book called 'A purpose Driven Life.His preface is that everyone's life has meaning and he believes that both individuals and the Church can find mission and direction in Scriptural principles.In much the same way, Cheerleaders can be vitally important and have an enormous impact for the teams they cheer for, their schools, and their communities.Even at a public school, with the separation of church and state, squads and coaches can emphasize 5 simple purposes, even without tying them to any religion.Although, cheerleaders who's personal faith is important to them can certainly integrate these Cheer purposes with Warren's origional 5 Christian purposes.I think that if cheerleaders keep these 5 in mind, they'll be practicing "intentedness" which is one of the bricks in Coach John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success."Intentedness means being goal-oriented, having a target to strive for.
The purposes of cheerleading:
Purpose 1: Spirit
Lets face it, cheerleading was invented to support sports.It may now be a sport in it's own right, but even with all the all-star squads and competitions, we should never lose sight of our primary function-to cheer on the ball teams. "Fan" is short for "Fanatic." This doesn't mean you worship football or the team. It does mean that you support, cheer for, draw attention to, and encourage the team that's playing.
THAT is Cheerleadings #1 role.
Purpose 2: Community (aka: having unity in common)
If there's anything adolescent psychologists think that teenagers are looking for it's identity, in particular- group identity. A mascot and school colors go a long way to do this. Regardless of race, gender, creed, socio-economic status, grades, cliques...whatever usually separates students, they all belong to one group- your school, and cheerleaders need not only to be a symbol of that group, but should constantly be trying to help kids feel included and valued in that community.Inclusion, not exclusion- As the school secretary listed them in Ferris Bueller; "The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies..." they all should feel like they belong, and it's yourjob to help them feel that way.
If you are fullfilling the negative stereotype of the snobby, preppie, popular- basically either supperior or "clique-y," you're being exclusive instead of inclusive. In other words, you're not making people feel a part of something, you're making them feel even more alienated and unvalued. Cheerleaders are supposed to make people feel valued as part of the team, part of the school, part of the team.
The irony is that if you're being what so many people THINK cheerleaders are like, you're being the antithesis of what a cheerleader is SUPPOSED to be.
I think that building community fulfills America's motto; "E Pluribus Unum; from many, one." Baseball may call itself "America's Pastime," football, basketball and NASCAR may all vie for being the most popular sport, but only cheerleading has the deliberate duty to create a sense of oneness. All other sports may do that, but that's just being on the bandwagon. The cheerleaders are the people offering a hand to get you up onto that wagon.
Purpose 3: Discipline
You can't be an athlete without it. It never ceases to amaze me when cheerleaders are frustrated that football, volleyball and basketball "jocks" don't think of cheerleading as a sport or cheerleaders as athletes, but then the cheerleaders don't want to work very hard during practice.Coach Wooden's Pyramid calls this "Conditioning." Although, it certainly requires more of Wooden's bricks, on the first tier, it takes work-ethic or "industriusness.." On the second tier it takes discipline to develop self control, alertness, and initiative. On the third tier, it takes discipline to develop skill. But it takes personal and squad discipline to develop and maintain friendships, loyalty and cooperation- which help make up the foundation of the Pyramid of success. A discipline is either something you study, like Science, History, or Art. A disciplined scientist uses the scientific method, so does a disciplined historian, for that matter. A discipline may also be a regiment you follow, diet, exercise, physical or mental training. Obviously, faith traditions are disciplined. If one is a "disciple" or a follower of a religion, philosophy or a leader, you follow the teachings, principles or precepts of that tradition.Theoretically, Christians abide by Christ's teaching in the Beatitudes, Budists practice Zen, Muslums practice the 5 pillars, etc. etc.Athletes listen to their coach's guidance and the rules or guidelines of their sport and school.Like doctors "practice medicine", practice cheerleading so that you will be qualified to be a practicing cheerleader. It doesn't mean cheerleading is your religion, it means that you're working at being the best cheerleader you can be.
Purpose 4: Service
The legendary King Author had a beautiful motto: "By serving each other we become free."
Purpose 5: Be Contagious
Sounds like a disease, right? I teach my cheerleaders that there is a difference between being just another thermometer and actually being thermostat.
FYI, Warren's original 5: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism
Year's before Warren wrote his devotional, Business and motivational speaker Stephen Covey wrote a block buster best seller called '7 habits of effective people.'
7 Habits has essentially become a classic "must read" for business, civic and education leaders.
Habit 1 Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Vision
Habit 2 Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Leadership
Habit 3 Put First Things First: Principles of Personal Management
Habit 4 Think Win/Win: Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
Habit 5 Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6 Synergize Principles of Creative Communication
Habit 7 Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal