October 11, 2001

To Be a Sport or Not to Be

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Short skirts, tight tops, glitter, pom-poms, and make-up.

Is this a description of an exotic dancer’s wardrobe?

It could be, but these are actually what you will find in a cheerleader’s backpack, and they will be the first things to fall out while she is ruffling through it in search of a pen during class to write notes to her friend.

In case you doubt my knowledge of cheerleading, I watched the world premiere and about 10 other showings of “Real Life: I’m a Cheerleader,” on MTV, and have seen many televised competitions. I also leafed through a cheerleading magazine while waiting for my sister in the orthodontist’s office.

All this exposure to the world of cheering has lead me to the only possible conclusion from a fortunate outsider: Cheerleading is not a sport and can be incredibly funny.

In my high school, we did not have cheerleaders. One year, a group of girls decided to organize a dance troupe, or something silly like that, to perform in between basketball games. That lasted for about two weeks, and no one dared start another team, because we all knew any form of cheerleading would generate comments and stares.

Visiting teams