Here is our first Panther Pen student piece. This writing came out of an assignment for students to write about something that they feel passionately about. The perspective below is a reaction to the negative stereotypes about cheerleaders that are so common in our society.
Enjoy, Ms. Jenson
Just Because I Cheer by Crystal S.
Just because I'm a cheerleader doesn't mean I'm like the ones you see on t.v. or in the movies. I hate getting judged by people when I tell them that I'm a cheerleader. They look at me with a face of disgust. Not all cheerleaders are stuck up or think that they're better than everyone else. Each year is a new squad, with new members, new friends, new challenges. Cheerleading is more than a "hobby"; it's a passion.
Sometimes, I'm by myself when I get judged for being a cheerleader and it's not fair. Our coaches remind us that there is no "I" in team. Cheering really makes you believe that. You do everything together, from eating dinner, facing consequences, goofing off, and "bonding through sweat and pain." No one ever gets left out. No one on my team would make someone else feel bad for something they love.
I don't know why I enjoy cheering so much. Maybe it's because I get a new family each year, or because I forget about everything during cheer practice. Maybe it's because cheering comes with many opportunities to meet new people and travel. Whatever it is, I will continue to cheer regardless of stereotypes. Call it what you want, whether you believe cheer is a sport or not, we go through the same pain and practice as others go through for the sports that they are passionate about. Yes, I play soccer and basketball, but there will always be a place on the cheer team for me.