School Daze #12: Have You Got What It Takes To Be A Cheerleader?

I ran across an article in Young Miss (October 1975) titled "Have You Got What It Takes To Be A Cheerleader?" and my interest was piqued.  I've scanned the article and reprinted some of the interesting portions for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy.

TODAY, cheerleaders hold a more important and respected place in school activities than ever before. Upon them rests a great responsibility to represent their school well. They not only provide an important decorative background for the athletic events in the school, but they can also guide the student body toward better sportsmanship and spirit and, by so doing, effect the mood of the whole athletic program. It has become all the more important, therefore, that the right people be chosen for the job and properly trained to meet these responsibilities.
I love the description of cheerleading as "decorative background" for athletic events.  I couldn't have said it better myself.

[Cheerleaders] Must have an energetic forceful personality, with an ability to charm an audience and adapt to changing situations. Cannot be timid, but should not be overbearing or conceited. Talent will shine for itself, it does not have to be flaunted before the public or constantly referred to or mentioned.
A cheerleader conceited? Perish the thought.  All the cheerleaders I knew back in the 1980's were the most humble, modest, self-deprecating girls I've ever met.  (Read this sentence with extreme sarcasm)

Inasmuch as the activities of a cheerleader can take time away from classroom or study ·periods, it is important to be a good student. Quick thinking in the classroom makes for quick thinking and good organization on the field and playing courts.
Yes, the cheerleading squad and the mathletes were best of friends.  I'm not trying to be an ass; however, it is funny to read the lofty expectations versus reality.  I can't speak to cheerleaders today - things may have changed.

Must be of high moral character and possess qualities that will make the school and town proud to have him or her wearing their colors and name.
You should be careful not to overdo the exuberance or enthusiasm so as to appear ridiculous, but you should also remember that "faint heart never won fair crowd."
This "faint heart never won fair crowd" is an odd little idiom to find.  It's a play on "a faint heart never won a fair lady" - in other words, boys needed to be bold in order to get the girl.

It is probably true that good cheerleaders are born, not made, but many times just a little extra show of peppiness coupled with a great deal of practice and effort will allow you to win out over another person trying out with the same or possibly even better qualifications.
"Good cheerleaders are born not made"..... a quote for the ages.

The "smart" aspirant for cheerleader should begin early to get to know as many students as possible. Turn on the charm, so to speak, and begin to "politic" in a very quiet way. Again, do not appear too anxious, but keep plugging along in as discreet a manner as possible.
Yes, quietly manipulate your classmates.  Don't let them know you're niceness is only a means to end.  Let them genuinely believe you like them.  Then, when you're granted a spot on the squad, you can go back to pretending they don't exist.

Here's the scans from Young Miss...


  1. In our High School, all it took to "Have what it takes" to be a cheerleader was for your parents to be the richest or in the most elite positions in town.

  2. Haha this is so funny. I was in high school a couple of years ago, and the cheerleaders today are not much like they used to be. Yes, some of them are bitchy and popular. But most of them aren't. We had around 300 cheerleaders instead of only twenty or so, and those picked ranged widely in social status. It's not a small group of the pretty, elite, as the cliche goes, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we had so many--they couldn't ALL be popular. Of course, the team captains did tend to be the popular girls. I'm not sure if it is like this at all schools nowadays, or just mine

  3. The High School cheerleaders of today act more like strippers.