Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cheerleading and Baton Twirling by Roberta Davis
Weekly Reader Books, Xerox Corporation, 1970

I actually WAS a cheerleader in high school. Apparently it was a dream for years prior? After all, I have this well-worn copy--though the only markings in the book are the stars I placed by favorite cheers, or "yells and chants" as the book identifies them. The book betrays its copyright in a lovely sort of old-fashioned language and ideas from another era. For example:

Should girls wear glasses or leave them at home? This depends on the extent of your real physical need for them... Today, glasses are so readily accepted that wearing them is never held against a cheerleader candidate. However the frames should be as attractive and flattering as possible without being obtrusive. Your glasses should be on the light side, particularly if you have a light complexion. Leave the horn-rims for the brunettes. And whether blond or brunette, avoid long hair and glasses. They don't mix well.

The book is a bit like my cheerleading advisor Mrs. Tupa giving us suggestions for moves in our cheers--ones that involved lots of twirling rather than the suggestive or jerky moves we kept coming up with. I never took the whole cheerleading thing too seriously, though owning this book suggests otherwise. When I was in grade school and probably reading this guide from cover to cover, I remember playing with my cousin Julie's full size red and white pom poms, though when I was in high school we didn't use pom poms anymore. I had a homemade cheerleading uniform for my Barbie doll too.

In response to a meme on Facebook I was forced to recall some things from high school and I was shocked to realize I had no idea what our school song was. I sang that song and did our cheerleading routine to it for two sports for four years. And whoosh... 20 years later, it's gone. With a little intent concentration and a phone call to my mother, it came back and I have to say... it's sort of dorky. It was something like this:

We're gonna go, go, go for Rolla
Keep our spirits high.
We're gonna fight, fight, fight for Rolla
Hear our battle cry,
Rah Rah Rah.
When the game is over,
as the story's told,
we're gonna fight a victory for the
Purple and Gold.

The following images are some sample pages offering tips on grooming, stretching, and some cheers. I never learned how to twirl a baton, but that doesn't mean I didn't try. I am sure I was the most uncoordinated cheerleader in the world.

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