Monday May 1st 2017

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Super Bowl cheerleaders, yep

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They’re finding out now that no cheerleaders are coming! They’re just waking up, I know just what they’ll do. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, “Boo Hoo.”

First time in the game’s 45-year history, the Super Bowl will be cheerleaderless. Woven into the fabric of America, making this the finest sport from the single greatest nation on the planet, cheerleaders and the game of football go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong — that’s the way it should be.

Six NFL teams are sadly burdened by cheerleaderlessness, Green Bay and Pittsburgh tragically among them — add the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. When the Jets fell to the Steelers in the AFC Championship, all hope of a sideline patrol befitting the pageantry of our nation’s crowning moment was lost. To that, this Who cries, “Boo Hoo.”

One game, not the end of the world. Still it’s America’s showcase, the gold standard of cheerleadericiousness, utterly lacking. Can we survive? Should we even try?

Every Who down in Whoville liked cheerleaders a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville – did not.

In a column last week, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times took a decidedly good riddance approach, saying “there is nothing more useless in an NFL game than a cheerleader. You can’t hear them. You can barely see them.”

So what’s the problem?

Saying they won’t be missed, he kicks it up a notch, citing injuries and questioning the relevancy of cheerleading in general. “It’s incredibly dangerous, not very inclusive.”

Plaschke asks, why have them? I say, why not? If they hold no value, what’s the possible harm in keeping them? They bring nothing to the party but spruce the place up and probably smell nice, why not invite them? If they’re like the Carolina “Topcats” from a few years ago, they’re probably interesting to have around.

But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

He adds: “As sports audiences at all levels have grown in sophistication, do we really need somebody telling us how and when to cheer? And do we really want to do so in chants and rhymes?”

I don’t think the girls are actually relied upon in this capacity. There may be poetry, meter and cadence flowing wildly in the press box but I’ve never faced it in the stands. “You suck!!” is a chant I’ve been involved with but they didn’t start it, we did and for good reason. If we’re really that sophisticated, we should be that much less bothered by cheerleaders.

“There won’t be any of them at the Super Bowl,” Plaschke said, “where 100,000 forlorn fans will have nobody to tell them when to chant, “Dee-fense, dee-fense.”

What did cheerleaders ever do to him? Or what didn’t they do? First they’re irrelevant and serve no purpose, now 100,000 fans are depending on their prompts in order to unify behind a common purpose these ladies initiated and specifically encouraged? Sounds like high-level importance to me. Then again, they are cheerleaders. To suggest their responsibility rises to that overdramatic a level of on-field significance is to oversimplify the reason they’re there.

It’s the same reason that Katy Perry is a very good singer.

It’s honorable that a sportswriter not wish to see females objectified and this most likely outweighs the reverse: a non-politically correct, sexist approach that simply wants equality for all 32 teams.

It’s why Hooters is a fine restaurant with a delicious assortment of menu choices as opposed to some shack-looking joint that serves up consistently deep-fried adequateness. 

Better to fill dead air with what exactly? This is P.T. Barnum keeping the audience entertained and filling downtime throughout the telecast. Glitz, glamour and fun with a female face on a man’s game. About as essential to the event as the Gatorade shower on the winning coach; Christina Aguilera singing The Star-Spangled Banner; the F16 flyover; pre-game fireworks; the view from the blimp above a dome stadium. It’s the show.

It’s the same reason we put up with a substantial number of celebrities who otherwise might not interest us in the slightest.

These six cheerleaderist NFL teams will never publicly admit their hatred of choreographed women is so blatant that they forbid them from setting foot upon their sidelines when all they want to do is show support for the home team and maintain fan spirit. Plaschke say’s these franchises are old-school, I say their cities are cold. There’s nothing sadder than a bundled-up cheerleader. In 1988, Green Bay fans decided they didn’t care either way but take the cheerleaders out of snowmobile suits and there’s a better chance they might.

It’s why the Lingerie Football League exists.

Nobody who paid $3,000 a ticket to attend a Super Bowl is focused on the cheerleaders, saying “oh look, there’s a football game too.” 

It’s not only what Fergie will be wearing at the halftime show but what the Black Eyed Peas are doing there in the first place.

Tell me about it. There are at least two BEP members who don’t even know they’re in a band. But this is the big-time and they made it. Plaschke says cheerleaders should compete at lower levels but not the NFL — praise for the steps one takes in the process of building a career but the height of success in the profession should be stripped away. Makes sense. As for injuries, far fewer on the pro level (less acrobatics and lifting), plus better team doctors. More danger = good. Got it.

 What do you say when you see a small Who. Little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two.

If she wants to be a cheerleader when she grows up, tell her she can dream only so big unless she lives in one of 26 NFL cities — and Los Angeles still won’t be one of them.

Sex appeal is a consideration in every field, every corner of life. Attractive people get better jobs, earn more and are treated better. Attractive people are fun to look at. Former cheerleader Jamie Beckman points out the obvious, “during NFL games, when the cameraman shoots a blonde cheerleader right before the station goes to commercial, it ain’t because he’s trying to capture her athleticism.”

No, but certainly her energy, enthusiasm and general cheerleaderocity. After an advertisement for erectile dysfunction pills; a 30-second spot using more good-looking men and/or women to sell another product; then a PSA about the NFL’s involvement in the fight against pediatric cancer, a friendly visual reminds us it’s just a game. There isn’t anything wrong with a friendly visual.

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