I have a confession to make. Yes, you may laugh as some folks do when I tell them. Okay, I will just come out and say it: “I was a cheerleader.” Gulp. I said it. Have you stopped reading? No, okay, good. Ready for the rest of the blog that might mention cheerleading?
I just finished reading “It’s Not About the Pom-Poms: How a 40-Year-Old Mom Became the NFL’s Oldest Cheerleader–and Found Hope, Joy, and Inspiration Along the Way” by Laura Vikmanis. At the age of forty, Laura is the oldest NFL cheerleader. When I first heard of her book, the idea intrigued me. How did she do it? How did she make the team, and how did her body handle it? You can find the answers and so much more in her book.
Laura went through a horrible and abusive marriage, and came out stronger, more independent, and in control of her life. It is a must read for anyone that might be in a tough marriage (she gives you a picture of how she made it through her divorce), as well as a view into NFL cheerleading. NFL cheerleading is definitely not as glamorous as it may look on the outside. AND – they make no money at all! Laura was a Cincinnati Bengals (called the Ben-Gals), and the pay was $75 a game. They only cheer at home games (about 10 a season) so that equals $750 a year. They do not get paid for the hours they practice (they spend more time in practice then the football players do). They are not paid for manicures, highlights, hair cuts, waxing, etc. yet they are expected to ALWAYS look perfect on and off-season. Wow. Is it really worth it?
While I did not make note of any specific quotes from her book, I did write down this quote in her section specific to body waxing. As said by Jerry Seinfeld:
“I will never be able to understand how a woman can take boiling hot wax, pour it on her upper thighs, rip the hair by the root, and still be afraid of a spider.” Page 124
I guess I am not that kind of woman because I can handle hot wax and spiders, although I know some men that cannot handle either. From my view of Laura I think she can too.
I was a cheerleader, too- It always depends on the kind of high school people went to how they will react this shocking news! 🙂
I completely agree!
The New York Times states that cheerleading is the fastest growing girls’ sport, yet more than half of Americans do not believe it is a sport. In addition, they fail to distinguish between sideline cheerleaders and competitive ones. Sideline cheerleaders’ main goal is to entertain the crowd and lead them with team cheers, which should not be considered a sport. On the other hand, competitive cheerleading is a sport. `
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