Friday, March 10, 2017

Phenomenal Women, Title IX, and the American Cheerleader #SOL17 Day 10


Without question, the cheer squad where I teach numbers among the best athletes in the school, and the best scholars, too. They showcased their strength and commitment to perfection last night in their Superstar Showcase. 

Four of the girls are in my Communication 1101 class. This class is among the most challenging we offer at Highland, and today the girls had to come to class prepared to discuss their informative speech outlines during conferencing and peer evaluation. Many cheerleaders cycle through this class. In fact, they are better represented in Comm 1101 than any other sport or activity.

That is, these girls do not avoid the most rigorous classes, which is important to note because the school where I teach has an ingrained reputation as a "sports" school. Yet our female teams consistently earn academic honors at both the state and district level. 

The Highland squad has earned the top honors at the state competition six years running and will be competing next weekend at the state competition. 

I'm reminded of lines from Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" when I watch these girls. 

It’s in the reach of my arms, 
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenally. 
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me. 

I think about discipline, respect, and scholarship when they are in my classes. 

Thinking about this post, I wandered about how Title IX has impacted cheerleading. Certainly, the athleticism of today's cheerleader bears no resemblance to the cheerleaders of my high school days. I found an article that poses the question "Is Competitive Cheer a Sport." The article discusses a December court case that argues it does and considers the implications of defining cheer as sport. 

In reading the article, I thought about the ways saying cheer is not a sport marginalizes young women. It reminds me of all the other political arguments against giving women equal "fill in the blank." 

These girls are good. Really good. I'm here to give a shout-out to them. 

And another cheer for the girls: 

March marks the month-long Slice of Life Story Challenge.Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers team for sponsoring this month's challenge and for promoting the writing life.

5 comments:

  1. To get my first job, I had to coach cheerleading.It was a competitive squad. No doubt, they are athletes. I love your shout out here to them as they are so much more!

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    1. I advised cheerleaders at a small school in Iowa for a year and the wrestling cheerleaders for three years while in Yuma, Arizona. I was never a cheerleader so functioned more as an adult prop than a coach.

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  2. To get my first job, I had to coach cheerleading.It was a competitive squad. No doubt, they are athletes. I love your shout out here to them as they are so much more!

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  3. The young women are amazing - bravo to them!

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  4. What a great shout out to these phenomenal women! Love that Maya Angelou poem. Love this slice!

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