Dear David: From “Future”

Dear David,

Yes, you are right, the USAG announced it will be providing sanctions for the NCATA competitions. However, they are not “giving official approval or authorization” to this group in the manner you are suggesting. They are providing a sanction, with insurance, to a certified meet director who will follow a set guidelines from the Rules & Policies for that discipline. And as you are aware, these Rules and Policies are developed with the safety of the athlete as the primary concern. I am not sure why this is a negative…..

Your quote: “They are not smart enough to do it on their own (sanction their events). Is there not enough educated people within cheerleading, I mean the NCATA or the NCSTA, to put together their own governing body? Why do they need the help of the USAG? To me this classifies this as a non-emerging sport, but a new division of competition for the USAG.

Response: Read through the requirements of NCAA emerging sport. And if the NCAA recognizes and openly respects the USA-Gymnastics and their standards as a governing body, why would aligning with a very professional organization be a bad thing? Can you name another GB that has the same standards, respect or following nationally or internationally?

Your Quote: “Let’s face it USA Gymnastics has had its share of problems. Don’t believe me? Check out The USAIGC! “We are flattered to see our USAIGC competitive rules and policies being adopted by other gymnastic organizations. Change is needed ….and our USAIGC Club Membership Clubs are leading this Change!” (USAIGC website) The USAIGC points out many apparent problems with the USAG.”

Response: Your quote from USAIGC regarding others adapting competitive rules and policies has NOT been interpreted by you properly and has been taken out of context. USA-Gymnastics has had the same basic set of competition rules and policies since their inception in 1970. USAIGC is referring to the “College Bound” Meet they started and USA-Gymnastics adapted. They have a right to be flattered….and we now are blessed with more than one opportunity for college bound female gymnasts to show off for college coaches. You also failed to provide the readers with this direct USAIGC statement: The USAIGC supports the USAG and is a voting member in good standing on the USAG Board.

Why are you stating false facts? Why are you trying to pretend there is tension between these two organizations? Should USA-Gymnastics be upset that USAIGC adapted Rules & Policies, sanctions, etc. when they started their group?

Your quote: “Gymnastics has been plagued by problems with injuries, training, expense, and many others that you only need to search on the web to see”.

Response: And what will a web search show for injuries to athletes in other sports? Hmmm…do you really want to go there?

Your quote: “…As a new and emerging sport why are you enlisting the help of both cheerleading and gymnastics to promote your emerging sport? Cheerleading was bred from the fact that gymnastics was so limited in opportunities.

Response: The history books tells the story of the independent beginning of cheerleading in 1883 in England, 1884 at Princeton and in 1923, gymnastics and tumbling was added to their routines. Gymnastics had already appeared in the Olympic Games at this point. Cheering in competitions was started, or evolved, from the sideline cheerleaders in the 1950’s. Can you point to the history book that states “cheerleading was bred from the fact that gymnastics was so limited in opportunities”?…I am not finding it.

Your quote: “I know as a former gymnastics coach that there are major problems with gymnastics. Gymnasts train many hours on many apparatus. This leads to stress injuries and burnout.

Response: Stress injuries and burnout from many hours of training? Unless you have the scientific data to prove this point, retract it. Science tells us there are many factors that cause injuries and burnout…improper or lack of strength and conditioning, inadequate flexibility, lack of safe progressions, poor equipment, lack of mental training and on and on. Hours of training can be a factor in burnout and injuries IN ANY SPORT! Show me the data!

Your quote: The age at which success comes to gymnasts causes many participants to push very hard at an early age, and the very limited college opportunities lead to a major drop off of participants at older ages. Who does it benefit to have this relationship between the NCSTA/NCATA and USA Gymnastics?

Response: You are twisting facts and your opinion into something that is FALSE. Could there be other factors why MOST sports show a major drop off of participants at older ages? Or are gymnasts REALLY quitting early because there are limited college opportunities? Show me the data to support your statement or keep these dangerous comments quiet.

Your quote: They need the help of the USA Gymnastics to get approval for Title IX, NCAA, or who knows where they want to take this (Olympics?)? If this is the case than we need to quit talking about them on Spirit Post or in any other cheerleading media because… THEY DO NOT WANT TO CLAIM US! They want the positive aspects of cheerleading under a different name. That is fine as it allows more opportunity for our athletes, but why do they need the USA Gymnastics endorsement to do this. I suppose this takes us back to #1. Maybe we mere cheerleaders are not smart enough to get the job done. Maybe they just need it done fast? Why? What’s the hurry?

Response: The NCATA has aligned itself with a well-respected, strong, organized non-profit and educated group of sports and competition loving people. Because they did not align with another group makes them bad? I have not read the part where they “do not want to claim us? Who is “us”? And why do you keep stating that this alignment/endorsement is a terrible thing? Please tell us EXACTLY what will happen and how it will be a negative! And please stop using the “smart enough” tactic….they (NCATA) have not said nor done anything to indicate any group of people are “not smart enough”. This repeated comment is not flattering at all.

Your quote: The announcement about the NCATA is up on the USA Gymnastics website (but has the logo of the NCSTA). They are so proud to be a part of this “New Sport.” Hey guys… It’s cheerleading! 6 rounds include compulsory, stunt, pyramid, basket toss, tumbling and a team routine. I coached gymnastics for years. Only one of these translate. I coached cheerleading for years. All of these translate. Quit degrading the millions of cheerleaders to please a board of non cheerleaders. Like I said in earlier posts, they will just change the name to get what they want. I was right.

Response: The biomechanics of the movements performed in cheerleading, gymnastics, trampoline, tumbling, acro, rhythmic is the same…it is the same science that dictates how gravity works, how to flip or twist or turn or jump. It all translates. Where are the degrading statements, comments towards the millions of cheerleaders…can you please point them out for us? You were right about what, exactly? If a name change occurs, this is bad? Not following the logic here.

Your quote: “…why are they doing this? Safety? So I suppose all “sanctioned” meets will be on quality spring floors? There will be limits to what the athletes can do that match up with cheerleading or gymnastics? Who and what will the Board that decides things be made up of? Cheerleaders or gymnasts? Congrats to Azusa Pacific University, Baylor University, Fairmont State University, University of Maryland, University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University for moving forward in making cheerleading a recognized sport, but in my opinion, you sold out.

Response: Please refer to your pod cast at: gotspirit-roundtable-1-is-cheerleading-a-sport/ You mention in this cast you have contacted this organization (NCATA) to give your input and they did not respond…that you would like input into their ‘path’…or into their decision-making process….WHY? Is this why you are so upset, because no one asked your opinion? As a USA National coach for over 35 years, with tons of experience and knowledge…should I be upset if the International Federation makes a ruling without my input? How about USA-Gymnastics? Should I get uptight with their lack of “reaching out” to gt my opinion? Do you think the university coaches and athletic directors are not capable of reaching some of these decisions with the information they already have acquired through their years of schooling and personal experience?

Your quote: “I am going to stand up now and say that all cheerleaders, parents of cheerleaders, coaches of cheerleaders, and supporters of cheerleading should stand up and fight the fight! We know that what we do is both athletic and competitive. If you do not like the way that some committee, judge, or school rules on it, get angry and fight it. A volleyball team at one of those universities did just that and saved their program. We should do the same and save the SPORT we all love! We are smart enough to get it done without the help of other associations”.

Response: How would “fighting” a group of university coaches and administrators help you “save” the sport? What are you afraid of loosing? What EXACTLY are you trying to save? Confused….

Your quote: “I know that some will argue that we get our kids from gymnastics, but in my case, I get my kids from soccer, softball, track, volleyball, football, baseball, wake-boarding, or I just get good athletes and train them with my knowledge. I wonder if diving or BMX called on the support of USA Gymnastics because their kids flipped too? I do not think so.

Response: Again, you are stating facts that are not really facts at all. Are there more gymnasts attracted to cheerleading/acro & tumbling than athletes from football, track, baseball, etc.? Let’s see if there are statistics out there on this topic first before stating it as a FACT. And regarding other sports asking for the support of USA-Gymnastics….YES-YES-YES…they do! The advanced biomechanics studies performed by some of the WORLD”S most prominent gymnastics Phd’s have crossed over their research into other sports. If you are referring to other sports relying on the support of USA-Gymnastics, again, the answer is yes. Other federations and other sports have frequently used the model of USA-Gymnastics (check their by-laws) and have asked for their support….diving is one of them. USA-Gymnastics cutting-edge policies are widely accepted. Example: first federation to formally and legally address child crimes with background checks, etc.

Your quote: “To the USASF, the IEP, to Varsity, to Jam Brands, to parents, kids, and coaches, if you are ready to take cheerleading where it is going with or without us and where it needs to be, get in touch with me and I will fight my hardest to make that happen. Cheerleading has changed the world, and it is passed time for the world to change and recognize that”.

Response: Cheerleading has changed, yes. Has it changed the world? Let’s not get so egotistical… Mother Theresa has changed the world….Ronald Reagan has changed the world. Let’s keep it in perspective.

As a die-hard gymnastics coach that sees the potential in having a sport, traditional cheerleading and all-stars, morf into another sport at the collegiate level, I welcome this with open arms. Making the athletes safer, helping them experience college in a different light as an athlete, and doing this in tandem and with another top-notch organization is all good. It would be great if all the energy spent on dissecting the future of Acro & Tumbling be spent on the ‘same page’…forward.

On a positive note, I encourage anyone to listen to the DVD, “Power of Positive Coaching” by Dr. Jason Selk. He is a clinical psychologist and a men’s gymnastics coach. His approach to being a better coach and person is enlightening and well worth the purchase. There really is no need to “fight” or be negative…. there is a need to fully embrace a great concept. David, please get a copy of this DVD….it will make you even a better coach!

Signed – “Future”

Dear David: From “Future”