For years when my daughter saw cheerleaders, I'd just tell her they were young women with strange, brightly colored hand deformities and a sad need to shake and yell, and that it wasn't nice to stare at them or point them out. But now she's nearly 7 and she's gotten wise. She knows damn well what they're doing and that their jobs are considered pretty sweet.
So I'm having to start getting more evidence to make my case before she asks if she can try out for some Pee Wee cheer team.
First, there's the danger. I've talked about how donning the pom-poms can be far more dangerous than pot, but now I've got dramatic, and pretty hilarious -- sorry -- video proof as this cheerleader does a trust fall into the arms of a pair of not-so-dependable catchers. Of course, it's some kind of hazing ritual, but it's not so different from the human-pyramid dismounts the boys and girls do at halftimes of games.
God that's brutal. If a video makes it to the Internet, it means the person in it was okay, right?
Also, if you make it to the top tier of the cheerleading world, the sidelines of the NFL, the pay sucks. Hard. They're skilled dancers performing for crowds of thousands -- millions on TV -- they must make some nice scratch, right? Um, no. You won't even believe it. Most get about $50 a game. And that's just 10 games a year. Considering the amount of practice and working out and plastic surgery that it can require, it easily works out to less than minimum wage.
Hell, strippers make more. A lot more. Though it's a huge hassle, since it's mostly in one dollar bills. Maybe they should let fans toss dollars out to the cheerleaders. Undignified, yes, but at least they could make a living. At least they can make personal appearances or show up in calendars for a few bucks. But that's no excuse for billionaire cheapskate NFL owners to use their bodies for free.
In fact, the only way they could see some real money -- lassoing a millionaire player for a husband -- is nearly impossible. Dating players is against the rules. These ladies need to organize. Cheerleaders of the world unite!
Or better still. Let's do away with the job entirely. There's no lack of opportunity for booty-shaking dancing. Let's keep it off the TV where the kids may see it and get inspired. Especially mine.
Let me add: I've known lots of cheerleaders and former cheerleaders in my time, and many of them were lovely people who went on to do amazing things -- though never professional cheerleading. And if my daughter did decide to defy me and join a cheer squad, I would probably turn into a crazy stage mother or perhaps a coach. Like Sue Sylvester, but with testicles. With more testicles I mean.
Are you worried about your daughter becoming a cheerleader?
Image via AvinashKunnath/Flickr