Posted on November 2, 2014
The year was 1898.
The place was the United States of America.
The event: the birth of cheerleading.
I never knew that cheerleading got started so late, nor that it was an American innovation and remains largely an American thing.
I also didn't know that it started out as an all-male thing!
Cheerleading didn't just start as an all-male sport, but it wasn't even much of a sport!
The early cheerleaders were sometimes called “yell leaders”—a good name, since leading the crowd in cheers is all that they did!
The very first cheerleader was Johnny Campbell, who led students at the University of Minnesota in cheering, “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!” University of Minnesota students still use this cheer, all these years later!
Women cheerleaders started to appear in the early 1920s (although the postcard to the right shows a female cheerleader from way earlier!). In World War II, women started to dominate cheerleading, when few men were involved in organized sports. Today about 97% of all cheerleaders are female!
Gymnastics, tumbling, and megaphones were added to the sport, and in the 1960s, the pompom was invented and began to be widely used. Soon dance moves began to appear in cheer sequences. By the late 1970s, televised cheer competitions raised the reputation of cheerleading as a sport of its own.
Did you know that cheerleading is the most dangerous of all sports? It's more dangerous, even, than football—because the injuries often come from falling from high up.
|Cheerleading started out with college students and|
trickled down to high school students and younger.
Check out this, this other, and this third video for some samples of what cheer is about today. There is a lot of tumbling and “flying,” and I think you will see why it is so dangerous, but there is also dance and musicality.
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