Reason #1 that Cheerleaders are Crazy

Cheerleading Tryouts. 

The word alone is enough to send a shiver down most spines.  Most people can relate to the anxiety involved when they are being judged.  Everyone has interviewed for a job, auditioned for a play, tried out for a sport or taken an exam.  Each of those situations involves a person or their work being evaluated by someone else.  But cheerleading tryout are far more insidious than these other trials. 

For one, you have to do some pretty dangerous stuff.  Odds are, you are going to have to perform a variety of tumbling skills.  Before you can even take your first tumbling lesson they make you sign a waiver acknowledging that this activity can result in catastrophic injury or death.  Great.  And that is under ideal conditions.  That is with protective mats, sometimes 3 feet thick.  That is with instructors reinforcing your technique and ready to catch you if you fall.  This is with Mom and Dad cheering you on from the window of the waiting room.  What do you get at tryout?  The 1/4 inch mats you MIGHT have are more of a hazard than anything because they are sliding around a dusty gym floor and the velcro that is supposed to hold them together hasn’t worked since they were bought back in 1984.  The instructors are long gone so don’t even ask for a spot.  And tryouts are closed, so forget about support from your parents.  But that is probably good because what you usually get is a guilt trip about all the money they spent on the lessons (the ones that can result in catastrophic injury or death). 

But lets say you have all of your skills and routines down.  That’s great.  But remember, the judges are not just grading your performance.  They are judging EVERYTHING about you.  They judge your shape.  They judge your hair.  They judge your makeup.  They judge the way you walk in the door.  They are looking for wrinkles in your outfit.  Seriously.  You have to flip head over heels on slippery mats from the Cold War era and worry about your clothes getting wrinkled?  I have heard about cheerleaders getting cut because one sock was pulled up higher than the other.  I have been a judge at tryouts where one judge complained that a girl was too happy.  Not that she seemed fake.  Not that she didn’t seem serious.  No.  She was too happy, and who, after all, wants a happy cheerleader?

Wow, what a terrible day, right?  You wish.  Tryouts go on all week.  Some all star team tryouts have been known to go on for months.  By the way, a lot of times you have to pay a tryout fee.  After all, someone has to pay the experts for their time and effort to put all those numbers and comments down on paper.  

Speaking of which, that paper that contains someone else’s opinion of your net worth goes straight into the shredder.  You thought you were going to get some feedback?  Forget it.  You thought you would have a chance to question the outcome?  Yeah right.  You have a better chance of seeing the President’s original birth certificate than seeing your score sheet.  What you get, in most cases, is a couple of days to think about it.  That’s right.  You don’t get to know the results that day.  Adding 10 numbers up on the 30 scoresheets would take too long.  Instead, you get to wait the whole weekend to find out the results.  And on Monday, instead of the coach facing you and telling you the results, you get to try to find your name on a list which is posted on the gym door for the world to see. 

Surviving this gauntlet is how they weed out the ones who are cheerleading material.  And if you have read this far, what you have learned about cheerleading material is that it includes being completley crazy!

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4 Comments on “Reason #1 that Cheerleaders are Crazy”

  1. Courtney Says:

    I’m from England and didn’t have to try out for my team coz we were new and progressed from level 1 basics up, anyone new who wants to join has to go to a beginners class before progressing onto the competition squads which I think is the best way to be coz you can’t just put someone straight onto a competition squad especially if it is not level 1 as they will not progress properly coz they won’t have the foundation basics and will be under skilled which will not only drag the squad down the poor new cheerleader will not progress properly and could get hurt or hurt someone else. I think the best way to be is to have new people go to a beginners class learn and develop basic skills which is also like open gym then if they are committed and they have become skilled enough they can then try out for a level one competition squad of their age group and progress from level 1. Do they really judge hair and make up? That’s silly it’s a sports team not a modeling agency I understand the person must be hygienic, reasonably neat and dressed appropriately with their hair tied back as those are essential for training (although you should sweat if you work hard but there’s always diotarant). But you shouldn’t judge someones make up, if anything they shouldn’t be wearing make up coz you wouldn’t wear make up for a practice you also don’t style your hair for practice, you wear team practice wear, shorts, trakies, leggings, team T shirts and cheer trainers and maybe you teams bow with a tied back pony tail, competitions are the time when you glam up but that’s only for performance purposes glam is nothing without skill. Although I don’t know how cheerleading try outs work I suppose there might be some performance element but I’m presuming it’s a bit like a practice environment like a coach will assess someones tumbling and jumping skills, teach them a bit of a routine and assess their stunting skills with different stunt groups and positions, then judge them according to their appropriate dress eg shorts and T shirt, hair tied back, their attitude eg enthusiasm, willingness, hard work, if they listen and try hard and most importantly skill level assessing the different areas of skill and body condition (which should have been established in preparation for tryouts) and weather they are ready to be in the squad and compete or if they need to work and develop more or (if it was for a higher level) master the previous level they were at.

  2. Courtney Says:

    I also think if someone wasn’t ready for the team they should get feedback and constructive criticism what their weak spots were, why they didn’t make the team and what to work on.

    • Courtney, thank you for taking the time to read this blog and leave such thoughtful comments. I’ll actually be in Telford this July to judge the BCA International Championship. I love coming to meet the cheerleaders in the UK. You are always enthusiastic and welcoming. Maybe your tram will be there as well.

  3. Courtney Says:

    That’s cool I don’t think we’re quite good enough or experienced enough to compete at internationals yet, one day but have fun. ❤

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