I might offend some people by saying this… but to be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever fully understood the concept of cheerleading. It could have something to do with the fact that they don’t seem as common around these parts as they do south of the border. I mean sure, the big professional sports teams have their cheerleading squads, but they’re rarely given the sort of coverage here as they seem to get down in the States. Maybe (probably) I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but is it not (or was it not at one time) a dream for many young American women to be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys? I can’t think of anyone I knew growing up for whom being a professional cheerleader was a life goal or aspiration.
All that is not to say that I don’t respect the hell out of cheerleaders, because a lot of hard work and training goes into making all those synchronized cheers and crazy lifts and flips and throws and what-have-you go off without a hitch. I think part of the reason I don’t necessarily understand the appeal is the constant potential to hurt yourself doing it. You better trust your lift partner, because once you’re up in the air, they’re what’s going to keep your face from smacking against the ground. And that’s not the only potential for injury…
Flashback to high school. In grade 12, I took yearbook class and was part of the group working on the school’s DVD yearbook – which was a way to not only include fun videos taken throughout the school year, but also a way to include footage of the sports and events that happened after the yearbook had to be sent off for publishing. One of the responsibilities that I took on was shooting a number of sports events, including a couple football games. I would set up my camera along one sideline, where the team benches were. Across the field is where all the spectators were, so I had a perfect view of what happened when the play went up the sideline near the crowd. Obviously the defense was trying to push the offense out of bounds, and when they finally did, it sent a bunch of bodies flying toward the Crestwood cheerleaders. A few of them went flying, but they all jumped back up, looking no worse for wear. I laughed at the time, but looking back now I’m just glad I wasn’t trapped under that pile of football players… I bet it smelled awful.
Where is all this leading to? A video of a cheerleader being dropped on her head not once, but twice within seconds. It happened to UCLA cheerleader Sophie Lellis-Petrie last week, and here’s how it looked on national TV:
2 Ls, one cheerleader pic.twitter.com/k01cBMV27t
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) February 10, 2017
It’s bad enough that they dropped her once – and I mean who knows whose fault it was really anyway? But then immediately after, as one of her (I’m assuming) coaches runs off with her in his arms, the knight in shining armor trips over a random bag left on the floor and falls himself, dropping her right on her tailbone and back. If you fullscreen it, you can see the agony on her face as she makes contact with the ground.
I know that dude was just trying to help, but I can’t help but be reminded of that scene from Wayne’s World 2 where Garth gets a date with Honey Hornée (it’s French), and ends up back at her place. By the end of the scene, she’s carrying him to bed, but smacks his head off the wall… For some reason that’s all I could picture.
Skip to 3:50 to see what I mean:
Fortunately she was okay and was back out on the floor by the end of the game, so it’s something we can look at and laugh about now, but the danger is real. That outcome also reminds me of another scene from Wayne’s World…
“And she’s okay!”
While I can’t relate specifically to being dropped while cheerleading, I CAN relate to being someone being dropped on their head in similar circumstances. You see, at heart, I’m a hard rocker. I love heavy music, and I love going to concerts where mosh pits and crowdsurfing is the norm. I still remember the first (and only) time I ever successfully crowdsurfed.
It was at a Protest The Hero show in Toronto, and while I was accustomed to helping lift others up to crowdsurf their way to the front, I’d never tried it myself. I finally found a couple people to help me get up, and it was honestly one of the most exhilerating feelings I’ve ever had. I could use yet another scene from Wayne’s World to illustrate how I felt:
“It’s like a thousand fingers just urging you to let go!”
I was able to surf once more successfully, before trying two more times and being dropped on my head both times.
Those of you who have ever been in a mosh pit know, however, that as violent as it looks, nobody wants to see someone get trampled. Anytime someone goes down in the pit, there’s usually 4 or 5 hands reaching to pull them up almost immediately. I do recall at one point being more or less upside down – my head down by people’s feet, and my feet by their heads, but with the help of some decent people, I got up and was okay. One of the failed attempts at crowdsurfing was actually to try and get out of the pit altogether, and it was easier to go up and forward than try and fight my way back through a crowd that was all pushing the opposite of the direction I wanted to go. I ultimately did have to shove my way back through that crowd to escape the heat of the pit and give the pulled muscle in my neck that I suffered at a previous show a rest. I was a little disappointed that I got dropped, but it’s certainly nothing like the cheerleading mishap, where you’re trusting your squadmates to hold you up. I was depending on random people who don’t know me from a hole in the ground the hold me up – and I’m not the lightest guy – so I don’t blame them for dropping me.
As embarrassed as she and her squad probably were, all’s well that ends well – and she’s okay, so it’s all good, and she’s got a funny story to tell about that time she got dropped twice in a matter of seconds on live television.