I took it for granted when I lived in super-progressive Western Washington state that high school cheerleaders were equal opportunity. At Seattle-area schools, the 99-percent-of-the-time all-girl squads cheer for both boys and girls basketball games, with very few exceptions. The principal of one school – Rainier Beach High School – even had a policy: if the cheerleaders didn’t get there in time to yell for the girls on back-to-back game night, they couldn’t cheer for the boys. He was, and still is, strict on that.
Then I got to supposedly-progressive California. Here, it’s hit and miss with cheerleaders yelling for girls teams – and quite often it’s miss. I’ve yet to understand why.
You can’t tie it to economics, as there are schools in every strata that cheer or don’t cheer for the ladies. Nor does it seem to have anything to do with how good the team is, because there too I’ve seen cheerleaders yell on poor teams and great teams have not a cheerleader in sight.
I think it’s a combination of the culture of that particular school, and how much the administration cares about both athletics and equality in sports. Needless to say, the wrong combination of those things frosts my melon.
For example, a school I know of has their girls games before the boys. The cheerleaders are there way before the girls game even starts, but they don’t come out to cheer – they hang out in the other gym. When it’s an away game, they travel with the boys team and sometimes cheer for the girls a little here and there when they arrive in the third quarter and have nothing else to do.
There are schools where the cheerleaders don’t show up for the girls games, but when the team makes the state playoffs, suddenly the yellers are literally on the bus.
I’m not down with that. Wouldn’t tolerate it at all if I were a higher up at a school. Can’t believe this stuff is still happening in 2010.
But I wasn’t pissed off tonight, because I went to check out the game at Washington Prep High School. The cheerleaders there cheer for both the boys and the girls, and enthusiastically, too. Two run over to do spirit finger-type stuff when one of the players is at the free throw line; they all yell loud and proud. They’re sassy, too. I got some pictures, which are below.
While I’m at it, I’d like to shout out the cheerleaders at Dorsey High, Beverly Hills High, Narbonne High, Brea Olinda High and Morningside High, just to name a few. The players appreciate the love more than you know.
The Washington Prep cheerleaders in mid-cheer……
…..and just being attentive.