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Old 09-03-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
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Cheerleading?

OK, so this is so very out of character for me, and I am finding myself in uncharted waters. Are there any cheer moms here?

My DD quit dance after 7+ years in the Spring. She really enjoyed the acro component of her last dance sessions, and wanted more acro. We were looking into varieties of gymnastics/tumbling for her age group. Many people who know her suggested cheerleading. Now, I thought cheerleading was pom poms and rah rah. She was invited to try for a youth stream, minor competitive team practice last week. We went. She loved it (of course). It is a beautiful facility, springy floors, trampolines, etc... Very structured programs, competent coaches, lovely. And I learned that cheerleading is so much more than Rah Rah Pom Pom. They were dripping with sweat after their hour and half in the gym, a lot of tumbling, etc... going on. And, it happened that the older girls were practicing while we were there and I was beyond impressed with the athleticism. It was intense.


Well, now they have invited her to be on that team. She fit right in; she was able to do almost everything they asked her to do and, in some areas, more. They do have a rec team, which was the reason I called them in the first place. I didn't think we were going to jump right into a competitive cheer lifestyle.

The thing is, it strikes me as a little "Toddlers and Tiaras." A friend linked the TLC show, which did not help. Can anyone speak to cheer for young girls? I would love to hear pros and cons, likes and dislikes. This is completely out of my comfort zone, but, admittedly, it is probably very much who my DD is at heart.

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Old 09-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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Re: Cheerleading?

No experience, just observation--

At some point in the past twenty years, cheerleading went from rah rah pom poms to competitive gymnastics coupled with techno music. It looks HARD. Two of my friends who were cheerleaders in high school were former competitive gymnasts who had burned out psychologically and didn't want the intensity anymore, but still wanted the physicality. I don't see the stigma formerly attached to cheerleading, and though there are still some lasting bastions of weirdness (the outfits, the hair-do's, etc) it seems to have become a very athletic endeavor.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:20 PM   #3
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Re: Cheerleading?

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No experience, just observation--

At some point in the past twenty years, cheerleading went from rah rah pom poms to competitive gymnastics coupled with techno music. It looks HARD. Two of my friends who were cheerleaders in high school were former competitive gymnasts who had burned out psychologically and didn't want the intensity anymore, but still wanted the physicality. I don't see the stigma formerly attached to cheerleading, and though there are still some lasting bastions of weirdness (the outfits, the hair-do's, etc) it seems to have become a very athletic endeavor.
In addition to this - it is I think the most dangerous sport. I have been around high school sports A LOT and the most serious injuries I see always seem to be cheerleaders.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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Re: Cheerleading?

My niece has been doing it since she was 7 and is now 15. She was the very first freshman to make her high school varsity team. She LOVES it, but it is incredibly hard. The competitions can be very time consuming with my sister bussing her out of state for many of them. I know it can also get very expensive.

BUT...again, my niece loves it. She's been injured a few times, but nothing very serious, but she also has not been at the top of the pyramid since she was 12 or so.

My father, her grandpa, disapproves of the "lollipops" (their short shorts) and the make up that they're required to wear, but the man is in his 70s and didn't allow me to wear nail polish until late in high school.

I think that if you daughter is up for the challenge, then by all means, let her do it!
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Cheerleading?

I did competitive cheerleading growing up. I was on my junior high and high school team and a competitive cheer gym team. I cheered through my junior year of college.

I would not encourage my child to go that route. It's dangerous and lacks standardized safety standards.

I would be okay with a high school or college team. There are more regulations with HS sports and NCAA. I would not go through a competitive gym.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: Cheerleading?

Thanks, everyone.

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I did competitive cheerleading growing up. I was on my junior high and high school team and a competitive cheer gym team. I cheered through my junior year of college.

I would not encourage my child to go that route. It's dangerous and lacks standardized safety standards.

I would be okay with a high school or college team. There are more regulations with HS sports and NCAA. I would not go through a competitive gym.
What sort of things would worry you? What would be good to see in place? My DH is a PE major and was impressed with the safety standards at the gym, but obviously we have no idea of specific issues, being new to this.

As for the danger of injury, etc... (just as a sport danger), I don't worry about that overly. She is drawn to dangerous activities and always has been. It is who she is. I cannot teach her to live in fear of dangerous activities. But, I want her learn to do things safely.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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Re: Cheerleading?

It is very competitive now. And be prepared for suggestive dance moves, makeup, teeny tiny outfits and whatnot. It does vary by gym but some of the gyms in my opinion are just down right inappropriate with the music and dancing. I absolutely respect the hard work that goes in to the sport. I was a high school cheerleading and have coached several non competitive squads but I am familiar with the competitive side as well. The time invested can be quite a bit too as the parents are normally expected to be involved fundraising, transporting kids, handling events, etc. It is similar to pageants in that a lot of the parents are very involved and just as competitive as the kids. again, the intensity varies by gym.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #8
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Re: Cheerleading?

It sounds just like competitive hockey, only more dangerous. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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The cheer kids at the middle school I teach at are all awesome kids. The team has a 3.0 grade requirement in addition to athleticism. The kids work their bottoms off, but they spend a lot of time on character building and leadership too. I know not everywhere is like that, but our HS cheerleaders are really great girls with a solid work ethic. Definitely nothing too suggestive, but it is a public school program.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #10
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Re: Cheerleading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keonli View Post
My father, her grandpa, disapproves of the "lollipops" (their short shorts) and the make up that they're required to wear, but the man is in his 70s and didn't allow me to wear nail polish until late in high school.
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Originally Posted by doodah View Post
It is very competitive now. And be prepared for suggestive dance moves, makeup, teeny tiny outfits and whatnot. It does vary by gym but some of the gyms in my opinion are just down right inappropriate with the music and dancing.
TBH this is what worries me more than the danger of the sport. I am not into over sexualizing my daughter, and some of the things I have seen worry me. Not particularly at this gym, but for cheerleading as a rule.
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