In response to Glenn Truitt’s Op-ed piece (“Cheer leaving,” Oct. 26), I say it is ludicrous to suggest Stanford cheerleaders should not be allowed on the field.
I feel insulted that I have to defend my team’s good name after an accident occurs. I will be the first to admit that what happened during the Washington game was an unfortunate mishap. However, in light of Mr. Truitt’s hyperbolic criticism and serious misinterpretations, I am impelled to respond to his accusations.
Let me first clear the air. The flier who fell on television did not injure herself, and the girls below her did everything to cradle her safely. They have all been properly trained to cradle stunts, and they actually did prevent the athlete’s head from hitting the ground. I do not wish to trivialize the issue of safety in cheerleading, but the flier in the video was not at risk. Mr. Truitt’s inflammatory rhetoric is unnecessary in this regard.
I also take offense to Mr. Truitt’s comments about the physicality and ability of my team. Contrary to Mr. Truitt’s belief, since Stanford Cheer became a staple of the sideline entertainment six years ago, we have consistently improved our technique and ability. We are dedicated and legitimate. The stunt that fell on Saturday was the only stunt that fell during that game. And although that happened to be the stunt that was televised, it should in no way reflect the talent of the team. All teams, even Oregon, Arizona and Washington State, have dropped stunts at games, and the fact that we did so while on television is unlucky, nothing more.
While it is true we go to an amazing school that prides itself in its students’ prowess both academically and athletically, we also pride ourselves on our unparalleled devotion to individuality, diversity and acceptance. That is why one would be hard pressed to find a student who is upset over the fact that Stanford does not have a “traditional” marching band. Instead, we have a band that is creative, goofy and unique. We love them for being unconventional. Mr. Truitt wrote that Stanford students want spirit groups that conform to those of all other Pac-12 schools, which simply is not Stanford’s style.
I admit that we are not the most talented of cheer teams in the Pac-12. There, I said it. However, we are indubitably the most multifarious and well-rounded. My teammates are diverse in terms of their race and body type, not to mention their religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and academic interests. I firmly believe that our team plays a role in ending the stigma against cheerleaders that they are all skinny and perfectly spray-tanned. And, in a larger sense, I assert that we are combating norms about beauty in general. Every one of my teammates is gorgeous and more importantly proud of the way he or she looks, and we should be promoting that ideology and not saying that anyone looks out of shape. By advocating tolerance and diversity, I would say that my team is a perfect representation of Stanford and deserves a place on the field.
Sam Storey ‘13