The True Meaning of Spirit

Margaret at Cheer Dress Rehearsal

This morning I read a story that really touched my heart and came close to home, as I’m sure it will for you too.

Margaret Romph is a beautiful 7 year old girl from Missouri, US, who has shown tremendous strength, bravery, and true spirit. You see, she is a quadriplegic (paralyzed from the neck down). She is also a cheerleader.
When Margaret was 5 years old, (and just 2 short years ago), she was in a car accident that caused her to become paralyzed from the neck down, and to have to breathe using a ventilator for the rest of her life. Before the accident, the little girl had been a member of a cheer squad at the Capital City Cheer gym in Jefferson City. Her cheer coach says she was a very energetic and lively little cheerleader, who couldn’t sit still for very long.
After the accident, cheer was something she didn’t even want to dream about, it seemed so out of her reach. But recently, she’d started attending her team’s competitions, and got their uniform for Christmas. And now, she will actually get to PERFORM and COMPETE with her teammates once again!
Her coach choreographed the routine so that Margaret can maneuver, swerve in and out, and go around the formations of the routine using her electric wheelchair, which she controls with her chin.Margaret is thrilled and excited to perform on Saturday, and, like any good cheerleader proudly wore her smile, bow, and glitter to a dress rehearsal on Wednesday.

Margaret Before the Accident

What an amazing little girl! They say anyone can be a cheerleader, but I disagree. I think to be a cheerleader you need the true spirit that girls like Margaret possess, in better or in worse. If she’s back on that mat, she really CAN do anything! The strength and spirit of a cheerleader like that can inspire and pump up the crowd much better than any handspring or scorp ever could.
Margaret’s mother has had to quit her job to care full time for her little girl, and the family can use financial and emotional support at this time. To leave Margaret or her family a message, or to make a donation, visit   http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/margaretromph
Cheer On!

A whole new meaning to the word “STUNT”

We are all aware of the difficulties we are still facing and overcoming in trying to get the world to accept competitive cheerleading as a sport. But it seems the cheerleading community is taking a step to simplify the process by introducing “STUNT”, an emerging sport derived from competitive cheerleading. STUNT will completely eliminate any confusion in people’s minds about the roles of cheerleaders (i.e. take the ‘cheering’ part that’s still so strongly associated with it away, and show them how intense and athletic we really are).

The idea is that our sport be in game format, thus drawing in fans and a wider audience. STUNT will have 4 quarters, like a football game, and two teams will face each other off each time. Each quarter is 15 minutes long, and consists of a different cheerleading skill executed by the teams, who compete simultaneously beside each other, so that fans and judges can easily tell who performs the skills better. Judges award points to each team for every quarter, and the team with the most points at the end of the 4th quarter wins.

The 1st quarter consists of Partner stunts, which the two teams perform simultaneously.  In the 2nd quarter the teams each take turns showing off their tumbling and team jumps. The 3rd quarter is pyramids and basket tosses, again done simultaneously, and the in the 4th quarter each team takes a turn performing their complete routine.

There will also be time-outs, and the idea is that coaches have to strategize and learn other teams’ weaknesses and strengths.

Where is STUNT now?

Bill Seely is the director of USA Cheer and is behind STUNT. Currently, STUNT is in the process of trying to achieve “Emerging Sport” status with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), so that it can become a recognized sport in American colleges.

Although STUNT is not here in Canada yet, it will surely make its way once approved in the States. So we must wait and see!

What do you think?


Personally, I’m not sure I like the idea of turning cheer into a game, because it seems that its purpose is only to please sports fanatics and get them to see it as a sport. I like the idea of an athletic performance, which is what it currently is. If STUNT does take over, what will happen to traditional all-star cheer?

It seems a definite given that skill-wise STUNT will require much more precision and hard work to perfect skills because it’s one thing to be able to perform a 2:30 minute routine perfectly, and completely another to perform with perfection for an hour and a half! The fitness levels of athletes in STUNT will likely become higher than any other sport. We all know how much effort a 2:30 minute routine takes out of us, even when we are in good shape and well trained.

Anyways, friends, I’d like to know your thoughts! Feel free to express your opinions in the comment section below!

Hope you’re all in good Cheer,

Mina

Sources: Varsity.com, American Cheerleader Magazine