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Cheers July 17, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

The alarm clock went off extra early this morning, as my art director husband has a photo shoot, and you know how art directors and photographers feel about light and where the sun needs to be in the sky for a particular shot.

I wondered who had been hired for this shoot, and I thought probably Kevin, who’s local, and my silly brain began to recall the cheer of the Lady of the Lake’s Laker Girls in Spamalot!, when Arthur was recruiting he who would be Gallahad. “Who is next to enlist? Kevin! Kevin!” No, that’s not right, I thought. But it’s something that sounds like Kevin . . . Dennis.

I couldn’t believe that this was what was going through my brain at 5 a.m. Seriously.

But that got me to thinking about cheerleaders and how Mali, in her recent post, “Things about America Kiwis don’t understand,” included them in her bulleted list, a list filled with many things that I, as an American, don’t understand either, cheerleaders in fact being one of those things.

In high school, I couldn’t imagine being a cheerleader. I’m an introvert, and the type of introvert I am could not possibly draw attention to herself in this look-at-me manner. This is compounded by the fact that I can’t imagine myself yelling stupid rhymes at the top of my voice. Ooops, did I say stupid? My bad.

I’m sure cheerleading is great exercise.

In high school I was aware of the social implications of being a cheerleader (popular!), and no doubt I had preconceived ideas about who they were, the way all of us had and still do have a lot of preconceived ideas about who other people are. I’ve been surprised, in my adulthood, to discover how nice some—well, most, actually—of these women are. They probably were in high school too, but systems weren’t really in place to figure that out, and an introvert really isn’t putting herself out there to discover these things.

(On the flip side, the quiet of introverts is often perceived as snobbery, when it is primarily a complete inability to initiate conversation.)

Now, when I see who’s good friends with whom back in my hometown, it warms my heart. Deep friendships have formed that cross social lines never crossed in high school.

But I digress.

When I was younger and more idealistic and living near/in our nation’s capital, I attended my share of rallies to support causes. It felt good to help swell the ranks, to make a statement in numbers even if no actual difference could be made by such gatherings. But what eventually wore me down, what eventually made me think, “I can’t do this anymore,” was all the rhyme screaming, all the call and response, all the chants. To me—and no offense meant to those of you who actually still participate in this—this behavior makes intelligent people with perfectly reasonable ideas look like idiots. “Can you hear yourselves?” I want to yell, and might, if I weren’t afraid they’d just yell back in unison, possibly finding a quick rhyme for yourselves.

So here I am, alone, quietly occupying my office.

Church, obviously, is out, too. I don’t like being told to say this, while everyone else says this too, all at the same time. I am immediately rebellious.

Our high school French teacher once assigned us to write a cheer in French and then to read/perform this cheer in front of the class. You can just imagine my enthusiasm for this exercise. The Sunday before it was due—during church, in fact—another cynical friend and I wrote this, because the teacher never said we had to cheer for sports:

M  A  N  G  E  R!

C’est mon passe-temps favori!

Je mange tous le jour!

Je mange tous la nuit!

Quand je veux la nourriture

Je la veux tout de suite!*

To this day, I’m all about the food and drink. Cheers!

*Please forgive grammatical errors. And stop me if you’ve heard this.


1. Mali - July 17, 2012

I love that cheer.

If I comment now, I might not have to post on this. The thing I’ve always detested about the idea of cheerleaders (aside from the stupid rhymes and the whole “popular” thing which I must confess I only know about from watching American TV shoes so might have a completely incorrect view), is that they’re there to cheer on someone else. Boys. As if boys’ activities are more important than those of girls. As if our role can only ever be a support role. Who’s going to cheer us on?

2. Eulalia Benejam Cobb - July 18, 2012

Oh that French teacher! You have my sympathies.

3. Dona - July 21, 2012

Except for the French class part, I could have written something similar except that I did long to be a cheerleader when I was young (before I knew I’d never be popular).

When my kids were in high school, I knew of cheerleaders, but never saw them — except once at the “finals” of a wrestling tournament when they were brought from all over the county to perform.

4. Helen - July 21, 2012

I always wanted to be a cheerleader too, except I couldn’t do cartwheels. (I’m sure I had other qualities that would have precluded me from becoming one as well.) In response to Mali’s comment, aren’t there a lot of male cheerleaders now too?

I so relate to the dislike of rallies with the peer pressure to shout something inane in unison. Although I would be very impressed if someone came up with a quick retaliatory chant that rhymes with “yourselves.”

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