I was getting rid of some memories the other day when I came across the cheer dance picture of one of the high school batches I was a publication moderator to. It reminded me of a few lines from Dodgeball, one of my toddler’s favorite movies (yes, she takes after her mother and is a fan of the game of “…degradation, violence and exclusion”).
In one of the scenes, Vince Vaughn’s character, Peter, helps Justin Long’s character, Justin get detached from a weight lift machine.
Peter: What are you doing with all that weight anyway? It's dangerous.
Justin: ...It'll be worth it when I make it to the cheerleading squad...
Peter: ...You wanna make it to the chearleading squad to prove to a girl that you are not a loser?
Justin: Yeah. Why?
Peter: Nothing. High school's changed since I was a kid.
Yes, I do remember those days when the cheering squad was only just a quarter step above the losers’ circle. No, I am not so old as to remember pom pom girls in long white pleated skirts and long-sleeved sweaters that made them look like medieval virgin maidens. I do however remember those days in my school when students were segregated into two mutually exclusive groups— the athletes and the cheerers.
In my time, if a girl couldn’t suck it up and play hard ball, she’d have to cheer instead or fail physical education. It didn’t help that the administration banned all forms of props and costumes. There was nothing between our naked faces and the hissing crowd. Some of us geeky, introverted ones who couldn’t hit balls smaller than an elephant felt like we were culled from the elite (i.e. we felt like rejects). It also made us feel like illegal immigrants. The more enterprising among us, annually migrated to mouse holes to escape from mandatory cheering. I pretended every year to be sick with some unknown disease that was similar to the bubonic fever.
Since then, high school has indeed changed. Now, kids actually audition for the chance to dance, scream and roll over the gym floor. Some of them really do cry if they don’t make the cut. That’s just… (groping for words)…amazing!
I wonder what else will change in the high school of the future. I heard water girls and pick-that-ball boys are becoming all the rage.