Recent cuts could mean problems for all cheerleaders

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a high school sporting event. With all the pressures in life — apparently you need to pay those credit card bills every so often — it’s been a while.
And then I picked up the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press from Saturday. There, on the front page of the “A” section, was a story announcing the demise of cheerleading at Stillwater High School.
Apparently, out of a school of nearly 2,200 10th-12th graders, only two had showed interest in being cheerleaders this year. So the program was axed.
I can’t help but feel a little responsible.
Five years ago I began a merciless attack on cheerleading at Stillwater, where I was a student. A group known as the “John Score Fan Club” — so named for a player with more showmanship than skills — would heckle cheerleaders to no end.
One member of the group went so far as to bring an airhorn to a game in order to drown out the cheerleaders. Other times, when asked to repeat cheers, the fans would shout random words and phrases like, “wiggle your ears,” and “pollen!”
The number of cheerleaders dropped following that year, and hovered between 11 and 5 members for the next few years. Some have said that the loss of cheerleading was due to many girls participating in sports rather than watching.
Malarkey. Last I checked, schools in Mounds View and Blaine all had cheerleaders.
The problem in Stillwater is the same as it is almost anywhere. Cheerleaders don’t lead cheers anymore, which some would argue is a crucial flaw.
Oh sure, they try. Most fans who attend games have, on occasion, played the role of the oblivious fan. You go to a game of some kind, the cheerleaders encourage the crowd to yell “maroon” or “gold.” You respond with a yawn or a run to the concession stand.
Hmmm … it’s almost like nobody cares about cheerleaders anymore.
I’m not going to go out on a limb and demand that cheerleaders be removed from the University and that all records of their presence be burned. Let’s start small.
For instance, is it really necessary to send cheerleaders to Penn State to lead cheers? I’m guessing that the Lions fans aren’t too receptive to cheers for the opposing team. There’s just no point in sending cheerleaders on road trips.
Why not take the money spent on these junkets and spend it on building parking spaces, or on building a shrine to Rickey Foggie?
Some cheerleaders will get riled up over this column. Before the mail comes, one final point.
I’m not saying that cheerleaders don’t work hard — they do. The problem is that the time of cheerleading at games is slowly passing. While the cheerleaders are wrapped up in their national competitions to see who can synchronize the best, interest is slowly eroding.
Cheerleaders are not the stars of a game. The game is what people came for. Fans simply don’t care about cheerleaders anymore. Maybe Stillwater was just the first to realize that.

Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]