David Hanbery is Completely Wrong

This was emailed to David & Andre in response to Cheerleading, Gymnastics, or Emerging Sport:

David Hanbery is COMPLETELY wrong and UNEDUCATED on the topic he is speaking on. Shame on him just like every other person who sits back and talks and does nothing in “the fight”.

First of all, the NCSTA now called the NCATA (National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association) is building a new sport called Acrobatics and Tumbling. In case Mr. Hanbery didn’t happen to look at the word “cheerLEADING”, let me point out that there is no cheering or leading in the new sport. This is precisely the fundamental difference between cheerleading and AAT (acrobatics and tumbling). The NCATA is not trying to take anything away from cheerleading. What they are trying to do, is format the skill set from an activity into a sport. I didn’t hear Mr. Hanbery crying out that cheerleading was a bad thing years ago when acrobatics and tumbling where introduced into the activity. Isn’t this exactly the same thing? The activity of cheerleading took a skill set from another sport (gymnastics) and incorporated it. So why is it so bad that the NCATA has now taken a skill set from another activity and incorporated it into a sport?

Why does Mr. Hanbery even attempt to bring the problems of gymnastics into the picture? Those might be valid problems, but they are gymnastics problems not AAT problems. Those issues are not automatically going to be issues in this sport just because they have the same governing body. It’s like saying when AAT reaches NCAA sport status that will make the sideline cheerleaders have to follow more rules and make changes. Duh….. sideline cheerleading is not considered an NCAA status sport and so none of those rules would apply.

Language is a reflex and a learned skill. It is very difficult to talk about AAT without using the word cheer because of the reflex-like association with where the sport came from. It is a learned skill to use the new name consistently and will take time. What Mr Hanbery is missing is that the activity of cheerleading is not the same as the sport of cheerleading. Changing the name is not denying any identity or selling out, but rather it is the recognition of the sport. It’s the understanding that it is different from leading crowds or cheering. It is the celebration of a skill set being formulated to meet the basic set up of any sport. Sometimes we loose sight that cheerleading was an activity that later incorporated sport-worthy skills, but was developed as a business or activity and not developed the way every other sport was developed. The NCATA is simply taking the lead on the college level of developing the sport in the image of all other sports so it can be recognized for its merits. No matter what the name, who the governing body might be, AAT is still evolved from cheerleading.

As far as the comments made about why bring this under USA Gymnastics….It’s obvious that Mr. Hanbery is uneducated on this topic. One of the requirements of the NCAA for emerging sport status is that you have a recognized governing body. At this time, the joke of a governing body known as USA Cheer is not suitable for this purpose. By adopting an governing body recognized by the Olympic organization and the NCAA, there is credibility for AAT that never would be gained under USA Cheer. The International Sport Accord basically laughed at USA Cheer and you know who, over their effort to begin the process of becoming recognized as an Olympic Sport.

The safety standards under USA Cheer, AACCA, are no where near the quality and level of other sports. The US Sports Academy develops most of the safety standards and certification for all National Federation of High School sports (NFHS) and many sports organizations. The academy is comprised of sport industry experts in their professions. Medical doctors, biomechanics, trainers, spinal injury specialists, lawyers (liability) and injury researchers work together in the academy to develop these certifications. The academy is currently about to announce it’s preferred certification for cheerleading. These standards blow the AACCA certification out of the water. Coming under gymnastics will bring to bare REAL science in developing safety standards that truly protect the health and well being of the athletes. Many of the current safety standards are industry written rules that protect the safety of a profit margin before the athlete.

It’s funny how so many people are suddenly standing up with a voice and ready to fight NOW. Where were people like Mr. Hanbery when Maryland started a varsity program and was calling out to others to do so. Why is it that so few states have a real competitive cheer season with teams that don’t cheer, but only compete (ie Michigan). Where were people like Mr. Hanbery who could have stood up in their own state and developed the sport in a true sport model? Don’t hate on the group of 6 schools that finally are getting the job done. How about you follow their lead and develop a true sport model in your town, region, state. When you see how difficult it is to do it alone, perhaps you will have some respect for the NCATA and the battle they are fighting for the college level.

So instead of everyone who was called to arms to fight this fight dialing Mr. Hanbery’s number, be more productive and supportive of the people who have actually tried to create opportunities for our young girls and women. Call the NCATA and offer your help. Support the organization that just brought our sport the pathway to NCAA emerging sport status. One of the dreams of every athlete is to win a National Championship and to win a gold medal in the Olympics. The NCATA just brought you the potential opportunity in the future to do both of those things. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll take a name change to achieve that!.