The Cheer Standard

I’ve heard repeated requests for more standards in cheerleading; standard rules, standard score sheets, standard scoring grids, standard floor types, standard floor colors, standard floor sizes, and so on. I think some of these requests, such as standard rules and floor sizes, are valid because they provide basic boundaries for cheerleading, much like the rule books used by football or basketball. Other requests will lead to the demise of creativity and originality in cheerleading. And please don’t tell me all of the standards will help to legitimize the sport when right now the World’s most popular sport doesn’t even have a standard field size for the World’s most popular sporting event.

The more we standardize the more we move towards everyone having the same routine. Gone is the originality and creativity that made cheerleading beautiful. Why not just imitate the short program in figure skating and give each team a list of elements they must perform and see who does it the best. Gone are the difference that allowed a companies like Cheersport and Jamfest to grow from nowhere in 10 years. Let’s say we started standardizing things 10 years ago. AllStars would not have levels (which would be fine with me) or be using spring floors because Cheersport, the company that really made these popular, was just a baby 10 years ago. AllStars would not be competing on a 9 panel floor or with 35 people. What makes us think we have it right now?

What was wrong with having a cheer in the routine? Has this diminished UCA High School and College Nationals. What was wrong with with having Semi-Finals and Finals? Has this taken away from the College Championships? Why can’t NCA All*Star still have the Challenge Cup and give away Worlds bids. Why are we limiting our ability to evolve by saying every bid competition must be near exactly the same? If we continue standardizing the only differences between competitions will be the dates and locations.

Simply put, there is no standard of perfection in cheerleading. Why are we trying to artificially create one by standardizing unnecessary elements of cheerleading. Does may preference for Stunts and Pyramids take away from the beauty of Flipping, Twisting, and Dancing? Does my preference for Cheersport take away from the prestige of NCA? I don’t think so because it is just my opinion, a personal preference, a single opinion. Shouldn’t each competition have its own flavor? Shouldn’t there be choices in cheerleading? Shouldn’t each company be able to go back to what made them different, unique, and special?