The View from Backstage at the NACCC…

I don’t have a fishbowl or a secretary, but what I am about to write may very well land me saying “you had me at hello” to my lone employee Jerry McGuire style.  I’m all about falling in love, so I think I could live with that result ( especially if Celine Dion can sing the soundtrack to my movie ).  What I cannot live with are the behind the scenes politics and self-serving agendas that drive the force of the sport I love.  What I cannot live with are the ways the system is manipulated and maneuvered in the name of kids safety when the bottom line begs the question…”Who does this benefit?”.

I am Courtney, I own Cheer Extreme, and it has come time to put my foot down.  If you care about All Star cheerleading, if it has made a difference in your life, please read what I have to say and pass it along.

For your information, the “rules cycle” has several components.

Step 1: This season’s began in Doral, a posh resort in Miami, where several  gym owners frequently inhabit.  There we discuss the matters that lie at the “heart” of All Star cheerleading.  There in the seclusion of palm trees where anyone can attend, but few can afford we hammer out the details of the proposals to be presented at the NACCC.  The conversation is manipulated in such a way to present on the surface that is about the industry as a whole, but inevitably what ACTUALLY is discussed turns out to precisely the matters which affect those in attendance ( almost exclusively very successful Level 5 gym owners ).

Step 2: “We” as a people are allowed to submit rule proposals.  The USASF and NACCC went to great lengths to include all proposals on the voting slate.  Hats off to them for their time and effort and the slate itself was very well put together.

Step 3: The “NACCC inaugural committee” which is composed of those people who were on the original committee…years, and years, and years ago meets the night before the actual meeting.  Most of those people aren’t even in the sport anymore.  Those that are chosen to replace retired members are self-selected by the leadership of the NACCC.  This was supposed to be a voter process by the masses, but for some reason that didn’t occur and instead people were placed in these positions.  I will leave my commentary on that out of my argument.  Regardless, behind closed doors that committee decided which of the 50 or so topics for vote were worthy of discussion for the webcast.

Step 4: On Tuesday, we all got the chance to hammer out our viewpoint for the world to see.

Step 5: We all get to vote.

Step 6: The votes are added up and the rules committee meets in April to decide how to proceed based on the way the votes are cast.

Step 7: Whatever differences exist between the rules committee and the NACCC are looked over by the board of directors.  The last time this all went to a vote, by the board the NACCC members were granted complete autonomy to override whatever decision was made by the masses and got to in effect “line item veto” the result of cumulative agreement in favor of what was best for their particular program.  This year, steps have been implemented to prevent this….we think.

I want you as a voter or an All Star and most especially a parent to take a good HARD look at what was actually discussed on the webcast.   I want you to ask yourself who those rules benefited and who got to manipulate the order of discussion.    There are SOOOO many things that are relevant to everyone in our sport regardless of level that are on that slate, and yet the main ideas discussed ( except for small gym issues ) were almost all about Level 5.  Level 5 teams make up a microscopic portion of our industry, yet the words “eliminate youth 5” are listed a grand total of 7 different times  because the people on the stage want it to go away.  There are at most 200 athletes in the sport that this effects yet we spent a huge part of the day on this topic.  The discussion of Super Senior Aged limits is directly relevant to coed boys eligibility….it is nevertheless presented as a safety concern for younger kids.  Level 5 issues dominated the discussions because the people in charge of the agenda have their own agenda.  With all due respect to seniority and the grassroots effort that these same leaders have made in our sport, and to their credit there are many of them, I ask that you step back from the process and examine the reality.

Before you vote, remember that every time we change a rule an unexpected consequence results.  There are many things on this voting slate that could forever change our sport and they are presented in a way that doesn’t do justice to their long term effects.   The debates are endless on many topics and there are advantages to every angle.  The reality is that for the most part, we have it right now and if we leave it alone ( like a great cheer routine ) it will only clean up and get better and more consistent.  If we change things that don’t even need to be changed, the long term effects are unknown and the time we spend making the change and dealing with the consequences will be lost forever.  You have the power to deny those with an agenda and think of our industry as a whole.   We are not an industry that is grassroots anymore.  We are only limited by our own expectations.  Every coach reading this has the power to reach any goal they set.  Don’t let rules and limitations hold you or our athletes back.  Believe in each other and our kids and let their actions and skills speak for themselves.   Is it “Day X” yet?  I don’t know, but it feels like we are being worked over from the inside and someone had to call it out.

Courtney Smith-Pope