On the way back from my recent Hike and Crawl expedition, I stopped in Oceanside to wind down. Upon my arrival to the pier, I learned that Oceanside was hosting a national cheerleader competition. It was called “Bring it Back to the Beach,” presented by the California Allstars (www.californiaallstars.com) and was conducted in the area surrounding the Oceanside Pier.
The place was crawling with cheerleaders. There were cheerleaders on their way to compete. There were cheerleaders just returning from competing. There were cheerleaders stretching on grass. There were cheerleaders tumbling on mats. There were cheerleaders chatting and cheerleaders joking. There were even little baby cheerleaders-in their little baby cheerleader skirts smiling little baby cheerleader smiles-and I'm thinking, “Aw, look at the little cheer-chicks in training, aren't they just the cutest little... spawns of Satan that ever walked a planet of evil ever!
I hate cheerleaders. Always have. And not just because I couldn't date them in high school, although there's that. I just can't stand pep. All that smiling and kicking and leaping and bounding and bouncy-hair-having, it's like the Stepford Wives on diet pills. Or to put it in cheerleader-speak: “Rah rah, sis boom bay!/I'll take a bi-polar, chip-eating, soap-opera-surfing, couch lizard over these happy peppy bouncy babes any day!”
I hate the whole cheerleading premise. For instance, at a sporting event, it is the cheerleader's job to tell me when to go “Woo-woo!” Well, sometimes I'm not in the mood to go woo-woo. Sometimes I'd rather go, “You're a bum, Seau!” But if I were in the mood to go woo woo, I wouldn't need a cheerleader to tell me when. It's not rocket science, you know. You go woo-woo when your team scores a touchdown. You go woo-woo when your team makes an interception, and you go dammit-asshole-shit! when the oaf behind you spills his 20-ouncer down your back.
No sir, it is certainly not rocket science. But if it were, do you think I'd consult a cheerleader on how to install the thrust vector control system to the main solid rocket boosters? Hell no. I'll consult a cheerleader when I need tips on proper glitter application and advanced Thigh Master technology. Until then, “Rah-rah sis bah kaboom!/I can't see the field, honey, so get out of my view.”
I know, I know, you're right-it sounds so mean. I'm sure CityBeat will receive angry letters from all the cheerleader-rights groups demanding a formal apology-which I shall now issue in advance:
Sorry, Ms. Cheerleader person, it's nothing personal. I just hate you.
And here in Oceanside, surrounded by your minions, I feel as though I've been beamed up to Planet Pep and any minute now the evil bouncy skirted Peplings will converge upon me and tear my flesh to shreds for displaying too much grump. I can hear them chanting now, “Hi-de, hi-de, hi de ho!/Mr. Grumpy's gotta go!”
I hate cheerleader meet-and-greets, too. I hate going to the men's room of my favorite neighborhood alehouse to find a poster of the Charger Girls all smiling like they've just shot their husbands and made off with the insurance. The bottom of the poster says, “Meet the Charger Girls, here, Saturday night!” and I'm sitting on the toilet thinking, Oh, boy! A bunch of self-involved, hyper-plasticized, quarterback humpers who I don't have the slightest chance of gettin' down with are coming here to sell me a calendar that I could not, in my right mind, display anywhere in my home? Well woo-woo! Better get there early and get me a good seat.
Did you know that through the early 1900s, cheerleading was dominated entirely by males. Yup, all that leaping and bounding and smiling and bouncy-hair having was done by men. And they weren't called cheerleaders. They were called Yell Marshals. Now that sounds like a cheer-master you had to obey.
“Yes sir, Mr. Marshal, I'll say woo woo right away, sir.”
Look, I'm all for women participating in sports-but real sports rather than some silly tangent to what the men are doing. Is there anything more Stepford Wife-like than an activity where women jump and smile and giggle in support of males?
If you need further proof that cheerleading is not an acceptable sport, well here it is: There are no good movies made about cheerleading. Baseball has Bull Durham, Hockey has Slapshot, Football has The Longest Yard and cheerleading has Bring it On-which made The Bad News Bears go to Japan seem like a Jim Jarmusch script.
Even worse, cheerleading has branched off as a “sport” unto itself.
I look around at the national competition in Oceanside and I don't see any football happening. I don't see any touchdowns or interceptions to go woo woo about. All I see are a bunch of cheerleaders rooting some imaginary team to glorious victory over another imaginary team-with their jazz fingers rolling and their pep pyramids tumbling and somebody is yelling, “Gooooooo Knights!”-and I'm thinking, There are no goddam Knights here. There ain't no Crusaders, either. No Saints, no Giants, no Vikings. No Bulls. No Bruins. No Lions or Tigers or Bears, so why? Why? There's no one to root for but you. So you'll excuse me if I don't go woo-woo.
Cheerleaders may e-mail email@example.com. Visit www.edwindecker.rah.