Monday, November 3, 2008

Rah Rah Rah

If you like to watch sports — in person or on television, college or pro — you must have noticed the cheerleaders who are present at almost every game in support of almost every team.

Some people watch sports events solely for those moments when they can see the cheerleaders. Indeed, if you go to a game these days, you can see people in the stands whose binoculars remain locked on the sidelines from start to finish.

You can thank University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell, who led the crowd in the first known organized cheer 110 years ago — on Nov. 2, 1898.

Cheerleading has come a long way since 1898.

In fact, if you were to be transported back to those late 19th century days, you might not recognize the cheerleaders. Squads used to be all male, so any thrill you get from seeing the beautiful girls in their skimpy costumes wouldn't be part of the equation at the turn of the century.

As a matter of fact, the current occupant of the Oval Office was a cheerleader in his college days.

And those skimpy costumes you see today's cheerleaders wearing were not really introduced until relatively recently — in the last 40 years or so.

It's true, cheerleading has changed in 110 years — presumably, for the better.

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