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Every guy, of any age, knows the answer to this question: what’s the point of cheerleaders?

 Answer: Nothing. But bless their scantly-clad hearts I love them.

 At this year’s NFL Hall of Fame game, which I attended with my parents, their was a moment when the guy sitting in front of us was called out by his lady for “being too interested” in the timeout routine of the Ben-Gals. And yes, perhaps the guy shouldn’t have been taking a video on his phone while his girlfriend was scowling right beside him, but this led my mom to pose a great question: What’s really the point of cheerleaders?

 Never being one to not have an answer for something, I accepted my mother’s challenge…

 The long history of cheerleading is indisputably tied to the history of football and by looking back at the early history of cheerleading one will discover its purpose: to change those fans in the crowd from passive spectator to active participant.

George W. Bush Cheerleading

 The official birthday of organized cheerleading is cited as November 2nd, 1898 when student John Campbell directed a crowd in cheering “Rah, Rah, Rah! Varsity! Varsity!” Soon after Campbell’s super creative cheer, the University of Minnesota organized one of the nation’s first “yell leader” squads. Mind you that these early cheerleading squads were mostly all male frat boys or soon to be frat boys – I would point you to the early years of former President George W. Bush. It wasn’t until the 1920s that women started to participate in cheerleading due to a lack of female collegiate athletics. It’s no surprise that it was around this time that cheerleading began to transition from a bunch of over-privileged white dudes to the sport that we know today.

 Everywhere you find football you find cheerleading, whether it is pee-wee, high school, or college, children of all ages are given an opportunity to be part of the greatest American past time. Cheerleading has evolved into a very competitive national sport with thousands of young people from all across the country competing for national honors. Hell, colleges even give out scholarships for cheerleading now! While today’s cheerleaders may not play the same role that cheerleaders played a century ago, cheerleading is still an avenue for those who can’t or don’t want to play the most popular sport in America to still be involved.

 Those first “yell leaders” were an organized way to get fans more excited about the game they were watching. Judging by the games that I’ve attended during my life I would say cheerleading has achieved its goal– nowadays the cheerleaders are usually drowned out by the drunk 45 year old trying to give the coach advice from the upper deck.

So think twice before you bad mouth cheerleaders because if the intertwined history of football, and cheerleading teaches us anything it is this:

 To love football is to love cheerleading.


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