Email: Understanding the Whole Business of Cheerleading

Spirit SWe received this email over the weekend from Jackie. Would anyone like to offer her an intelligent response?

I’m not fully understanding the whole business of cheer-leading. I see that it is real big bucks business for owners of cheer and dance schools and companies who cater to this industry. I don’t understand the draw of its participants as there are no monetary or scholastic benefits other than a jacket or trophy and its non-benefits of injury or death. I don’t understand the parents who support this function–the trips, gas, lodging, practices, competitions and photo packages–win or lose. Who makes up the pricing of the uniforms, competitions, fees and clinics? The last time I checked, most families in the U.S. are a disability away from utter poverty–so why the risk? At least with football and basketball, you get a 4 yr. scholarship to university. But cheer-leading?…parents might as well stand on a street corner with half a year’s income and toss it in the street at oncoming cars at the stop light. The money issue with zero benefit to the parents pocketbook and no funding for post-secondary education to the cheer participant makes this “sport” a topic of great tension and contention especially when the child/participant loves the activity and the parent cannot express any joy due to the financial hardship and strain it causes. I very serious and genuine.