We Are the Champions?

In the early to mid 90s a now defunct coed All*Star team known as Pro Cheer went to Dallas and won in their first year in existence. Shortly after that the Senior division was split into 2, Senior All Girl and Senior Coed, because the powers that be no longer felt is was fair to have teams with a lot of guys compete against all girl teams. Since that time the powers that be have decided many other competitions are not fair, such as teams with 4 or fewer guys competing against teams with 5-8 boys or more than eight guys; teams with 21 or more people competing against teams with 20 or fewer; teams with fulls and/or double fulls competing against teams than can only do layouts, teams with layouts competing against teams with tucks, teams with tucks competing against teams with back handspring series, teams with back handspring series competing against teams with a single back handspring. I may have misstated something in listing all the unfair competitions because being someone with only 15 years of cheerleading experience and 2 Master degrees I still get confused about the divisions and ask you to forgive me.

I now ask a simple question; Who is the champion? That question may be a little too broad so instead I’ll ask Who is the National Champion? We cannot decide that until we decide which “National Championship” we are talking about. How hard can that be, right? Let’s see, we have NCA and UCA. And American Championships. And USA and ACA. And WSF. And I almost forgot Athletic Championships. OK, that gets us through the Varsity Brands. How about Cheersport or Jamfest. Or Jamz, GSSA, Cheer Power, COA, Deep South, or Mardi Gras. How about Universal Spirit and Great Lakes. Even after we choose the company we must choose an event because many on the list host multiple National Championships. Let assume we all agree on the company and event. Now we must choose a division, which involves choosing a level. The correct answer to my question “Who is the National Champion” has over 1,000 correct answers according to the jackets on the kids backs and the banners in their gyms.

If I ask who is the football national champion I will probably get one of 2 answers. Same with basketball. If I ask about cheerleading how many teams come to mind? 2? 4? more? When I think of my answer for cheerleading I think of 2 teams, Louisville and Central Florida, but even that leaves off great teams from Morehead, Maryland, West Georgia, and Wichita State (or is it SFA now?). It also ignores all of the High School and All*Star champions. A lot of people probably think of the 4 Large & Small Coed and Senior USASF World Champions, which doesn’t address the question Who is the National Champion. With this many potential answers coming from cheerleaders, what is non cheerleader to think? They probably think we need to get our act together if we want to be taken seriously. We can even tell someone who our champion is without engaging them in a game of 20 questions; which company, which competition, which level, which division, etc., etc., etc.