“A cheerleader is not measured by the height of her jumps, but by the span of her spirit.” Spirit is an essential ingredient in the sport culture of cheerleading.
The Bring it On movie series featured the “Spirit Stick” as a main thread through the plots. The Spirit Stick is literally a baton, but decorated in team colors, striped, maybe sparkled, maybe with tassles, etc. that is owned by each team. Like Santa Claus, there are many myths that surround the Spirit Stick, where it came from, how it must be protected, and most importantly how to honour the Spirit Stick in order to have good luck when the team performs its routine. Instead of the archetypal stick or baton, teams might also have other good luck charms like a stuffed animal. Likewise, the stuffie would be dressed in team colors, or perhaps represent the team name.
Most cheerleading competitions have a special award called the Spirit Award that is given to a team who has demonstrated exceptional “spirit” in some way during the competition. The focus is on positive interactions between competing teams and respect for all.
The myth of the Spirit Stick promotes the importance of team, loyalty and sportsmanship in the sport. This philosophy has dove-tailed with the girl-power movement to promote positive attitudes, inclusion, athleticism and empowering girls through sport. Whereas cheerleaders started on the side of the field, cheering for the male athletes who were on the field, cheerleaders now proudly stake their claim at the centre of the field.
Not to make the male cheerleaders feel left out, but here is a sport that features female power!
Here are a few other popular memes from Instagram.
Know your worth.
I’m a cheerleader, what’s your superpower?
Forget the glass slippers, this princess wears cheer shoes!