End of the Cheer World
Worlds...every all star cheerleader’s dream is to not only compete there, but to win! To a cheerleader Worlds is like the Olympics, Superbowl, World Series, etc. Cheerleaders train diligently throughout the season to prepare for this event. The tumbling and routines performed at this competition are phenomenal, and part of the attraction to thousands of spectators annually.
However, on March 28th, Jim Chadwick, President of USASF made an announcement that will significantly change the entire cheer world starting in the 2012-2013 season. Chadwick stated, “During our March 28th Board meeting conference call, a joint presentation of CHEERSPORT, JamBrands and Varsity with an endorsement from Cheer Limited was made to the Board that stated they believe immediate action was needed for the long term interest of all-star cheer and its’ athletes... The proposal was accepted by the Board and will take effect for the 2012/2013 season.” An outline of the rules was then posted on the USASF website. Some of the most controversy new rules relate to tumbling, however, additional rules were posted about uniform specifications, bow height requirements, makeup restrictions, and even a rule specifically aimed at male cheerleaders to “minimize exaggerated or theatrical movements.” Some of the tumbling rules included, “standing fulls and standing double fulls are not allowed” and “double fulls are only allowed in running tumbling and must be preceded by a back handspring.”
Within seconds of it being posted, cheerleaders from all over the country were tweeting about it. #SayNoToUSASF became a trending topic on twitter and some athletes are even calling it “the end of the cheer world”. The tumbling rules became the biggest uproar for cheerleaders. It led to many conference calls and emails. Athletes are not hiding their emotions about these rules.
Drew Tyler, from Top Gun out of Miami, Florida, tweeted “Basically usasf just told me all my hard work, dedication, and perseverance just went to waste.”
Younger athletes, like Tim Clancy, from Cheer Tyme out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who have worked so hard to achieve, and continue perfecting, these extreme level tumbling skills now feel as though they have nothing to work for anymore. Clancy said, “I don’t like the new rules at all. For one they are changing the cheer world. People have been working so hard to get new skills, and now can’t even throw them.” Clancy will be performing at Worlds for the first time, which may also end up being his last time to throw his double full, which took him all summer to achieve.
Even all-star alumni cheerleaders are voicing their opinions. Dani O’Callahan, current freshman at the University of Tampa and Magic All-Star alumni, stated, “I understand that they are concerned with safety, but I think some of the rule changes are a bit extreme. There are some talented little kids on youth and junior teams that are already able to perform the maximum skills allowed... are these kids supposed to stop working and growing as cheerleaders? If there are no new skills for them to work on, how are they going to spend the rest of their cheer careers? I think the problem with safety is not so much with the skills being performed, but rather how the skills are being taught. Coaches need to condition their athletes and teach them the skills properly. Worlds this year is probably going to be wild.. the rule changes are going to urge everyone to throw crazy tumbling passes, and try hard stunts because it may be their last opportunity to perform them.”
As of now USASF has not fully backed down. Trying to compromise, they posted revised tumbling rules: “Standing double fulls are not allowed”, “standing single back handsprings into double fulls are not allowed”, “bounding twisting skills into a double full are not allowed. Twisting skills out of a double full are not allowed.” However, members of the cheer community are still trying to protest the rules.
The twitter account cheerUPDATES tweeted, “Worlds 2012: The tumbling will be riskier, the boys more flamboyant, the hair bigger, and the uniforms skimpier.” With cheerleaders still upset about the upcoming rules, and Worlds being held next weekend at the ESPN center in Orlando, Florida one has to wonder if cheerUPDATES prediction will be accurate. Regardless, this is one event you do not want to miss!