|2011 Arnold: the cheerleaders|
|Written by Jeff Glasser|
|Friday, 18 March 2011 22:57|
You go to the convention center expecting to see the man-mountains and the ladies with large shoulders, and they’ll certainly be there. But then you’re confronted by roving gangs of pre-teen girls, dressed in matching cheerleader outfits and adorned with glitter & ribbons. They aren’t there to cheer on their classmates at a pee-wee league game, they came to compete! Taking a turn in the main concourse and going up an escalator will put you in the Grand Battelle Hall, the epicenter of their little corner of the Arnold.
Does ‘epicenter’ seem too metaphorical? Perhaps, but only until you get within about 30 paces of the door.
When attending in a competition where many teams are involved, it’s common courtesy to respond in an enthusiastic manner when each participant is announced and performs, whether it’s your team or somebody else’s. Here, each introduction evokes thunderous applause, a rumbling of the rafters, and uninhibited cheering loud enough to drown out jackhammers.
Ah, yes…cheering. That’s why they’re here. Officially, it’s a cheerleading and dance competition. In reality, it also integrates gymnastics, tumbling, and military-grade formations. They’ve come a long way from just waving pom-pons and shouting a few poems at the crowd. These girls—and the few boys among them—are athletes in every sense of the word; glitter notwithstanding, they have the bandages and knee braces to prove it.
Click here to see more pictures.