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In Which a Sixth-Grade Acquaintance of Ours Shares an Opinion

Dec
15
2005

Right off, I want to say that this has nothing to do with not getting picked for the cheerleading squad in eighth grade. I bear no grudges; in fact, I learned from the experience, and you can’t completely fault any experience that helps you gain knowledge. And it shows that I can understand that kids try on many roles as they develop into adults, experimenting with things that might make them cringe when they’re older.
So fine, cheerleading is fine, and I know lots of people would tell me it’s a fine sport , and I can see how that’s true in many cases.
But then there’s other cases.
The other day I was in the playground, currently my top spot for interviewing sources, talking to a smart sixth-grader from the neighborhood. She was saying that one of the activities she’s doing this school year is cheerleading. Sixth grade strikes me as a bit too early to indoctrinate kids in school spirit and working hard to support others’ achievements, but, hey, whatever.
Plus, visions of Title IX, the young age of the kids, the feminist movement, this being the 21st century, the march of progress, etc., dancing in my head, I figure it’s gotta be pretty much co-ed gymnastics with rhymes.
So, ask I, do any boys do cheerleading?
No, says the young woman – explaining the obvious to the out-of-it fogey she’s conversing with – it’s a girls’ activity.
Well, ask I, clutching for something, she already having said that her group planned to cheer on the boys’ football team, do you cheer for girls’ sports too?
No, says she – somewhat flummoxed by my questions from another planet – that would be weird, why would you want to cheer for girls?
Certainly you can’t expect an 11- or 12-year-old to approach after-school activities with a fully realized ideology, or even any ideology at all. Presumably, though, the school is run by adults, who might have thought things through better. But in any case, and remember I speak from personal experience, if anyone’s looking for a good volunteer activity, a few Sisterhood 101 classes for the local adolescents couldn’t hurt. Then they can teach their elders.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 12:09 PM | Permalink

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