Cheerleading – American as Apple Pie

July 1, 2011  |  Field Notes, Life Beyond Cheer


Like the tightly woven fabric of a cheerleading skirt, cheerleading is woven into the fabric of American history and culture. Cheerleading traditions run deep and its imagery, well, it’s as American as apple pie.

In 1898, when Johnny Campbell did the first “cheer” to energize the crowd at the University of Minnesota, he created a model that appeals to the collective conscience of all Americans. Just as Americans like to cheer for their heroes, cheerleaders lead the crowd in rooting on their team through good times and bad. Cheerleaders champion great causes and are role models in our schools and communities. Cheerleaders want the best for all of us. Cheerleaders don’t give up. What’s more American than that?

In times of trouble, Americans rally around those in need – and so do cheerleaders.

Across this great country, cheerleaders commit their time and effort to helping those affected by tragedy. One example is the recent Joplin, Missouri tornado – many teams have helped or pledged to help in the rebuilding. This type of good will is not the exception; it’s the rule – because cheerleaders are leaders in good times and bad.

At the national level, spirit companies dedicate their time and resources to make a difference in this country.  This year, Varsity is teaming up with St. Jude to support its life saving mission of finding cures for children fighting cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. The National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) is proud to be an official sponsor of The Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Cheerleaders aren’t the only ones volunteering in their community, but it is a common thread that runs through cheer teams across America.

Cheerleading is really just a microcosm of American ideals. Americans are patriotic, and it’s this same sense of pride that propels cheerleaders to assume positions of leadership and service around this country.  Cheerleaders embody an American spirit of determination, dedication, and drive. I’m proud to be an American. And I’m proud to have been a cheerleader.

Happy 4th of July! Enjoy some apple pie!

– Jenni Parrish



3 Comments


  1. Well said, Jenni! I’m proud to have been a cheerleader too!

  2. What a great article. I’m very proud to be an American and to also be involved in the cheerleading world. It’s great to these cheerleaders leading the way to be the role model they should be.

  3. Karen Halterman

    Thanks, Jenni, for your reminder that makes every current and former cheerleader proud of their leadership! Happy 4th of July to all!

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