What drama, you ask? Cheerleaders.
Where did I first learn of this drama? Where else? Facebook.
Trigg County High School’s cheerleaders did not attend Friday’s girl-boy basketball doubleheader at 5th District rival Lyon County, one of the biggest hoops nights of the year for the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats.
Why did they not attend? Because they had their own competition scheduled for Saturday, and the decision was made to place more focus on that.
My question: Why is there drama here?
There’s no debate about the importance placed on athletics in this community. I’ve seen it from several angles – as a fan, an athlete (albeit briefly), a pep band member, a scorekeeper and a journalist. In each of those roles, I’ve observed the same basic fact – Trigg County folks love sports and provide great support for their student-athletes.
But here’s a reminder – cheerleaders are student-athletes, too. They deserve the same support, and they don’t receive it to the same degree as their peers.
Understand that this sentiment is not based solely on the Facebook comments of a few who seem to hold basketball teams in higher esteem than cheerleading teams. It’s an observable fact that people don’t attend cheerleading competitions the same way they attend football and basketball games. Same goes for marching band competitions. Some school events are attended by a wide variety of community members. Others are attended mostly by family members. Fair or not, it’s a fact.
Just because you don’t attend them or have no interest in attending them doesn’t mean cheerleaders aren’t required to make the same kind of sacrifice made by other athletes and don’t, therefore, deserve the same respect.
Cheerleading hasn’t always been a competition sport at TCHS, but it is now, and that team and its members don’t deserve the unrealistic expectations heaped upon them by folks who expect to see them cheer for four hours on a Friday night, then wake up fresh and ready for competition Saturday. It’s unreasonable.
It’s unfortunate that this competition was scheduled for one day after a big basketball doubleheader, but there are a lot of moving parts involved in any competitive event that features more than two schools. There are going to be scheduling conflicts.
If the cheerleaders had to miss Homecoming, Senior Night or any number of big home games, this argument would hold more weight. The fact is, they missed a road game, and it’s not uncommon for schools to not send their cheerleaders to a road game, even a rivalry game.
Somehow, the Black Hole student section got thrown into this argument as well, and that’s not really fair, either. The cheerleaders and the Black Hole are two separate entities, and both are important, but expecting one to replace the other – even for just one night – is ridiculous.
If anything else can be taken from this controversy (if it can be called that), it’s a reminder that everyone has an opinion, and we’re not always going to agree on everything.
That’s fine. My suggestion, though, is to put everything into perspective. In a perfect world, cheerleaders would go to every game regardless of location, and the pep band would be at every home game. Those things won’t happen, and expecting them to places an unfair burden on those groups.
When one group supports another, the first group should be able to expect some level of support in return. What have you done lately to show your support for the supporters?
By the way, our cheerleaders won their competition on Saturday.
Justin McGill is the general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.