It’s called a uniform for a reason #SOL24

March 4, 2024

Since I spent yesterday ranting about the Honda manufacturers tap dancing all over my emotions, I figured I’d keep that good energy going and rant about something else that has bugged me in recent months: namely, the cheerleading uniforms the varsity cheerleaders wore during my high school’s homecoming game this past October.

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Slice of Life is a writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

During the first semester of my sabbatical, I went back to my hometown, both to visit friends and to do some field research for the novel I’m writing. My visit happened to coincide with my high school alma mater’s homecoming weekend, which was also the day they were dedicating the new field with a ribbon cutting ceremony. People who met me in grad school may be surprised to know this, but I actually had a lot of school spirit as a teenager, so I thought it would be fun to attend the ceremony and the game and was able to rope my friend and her son into coming along.

The ceremony was nice, and the new field is gorgeous. it was a good reminder of how important physical surroundings can be because, while a nice football field/track may seem like a small thing, it actually instilled a sense of pride in me to see that the school and community invested in creating a field that was actually fit for athletes to use.

So, yes, the field is gorgeous, the ceremony was lovely, but then. But then it was time for the actual game. The players took the field, the cheerleaders lined up in front of the stands, and I had a lot of questions.

And my first one was WHY WERE THEY ALL WEARING DIFFERENT UNIFORMS???

Since I won’t be posting pictures–to protect people’s privacy and because I don’t have permission to put them on the internet–I will just have to describe them to you. There were eight cheerleaders visible in the picture I took, and this is what they were wearing:

  • CHEERLEADER 1 – sleeveless maroon top, stripes along the bottom and sleeves, team name written in white across her chest; maroon skirt, white stripes along the sides and the bottom
  • CHEERLEADER 2 – sleeveless maroon top, team name written across chest in white cursive, three stripes in a chevron under the team name; maroon pleated skirt, white stripes down the sides
  • CHEERLEADER 3 – black tank style top, broad white stripes on straps, crisscrossed x at top of tank with thin white strips along the edges of the bands, shortened school name in white script across chest, white and black crisscross under school name; black pleated skirt, two white stripes around bottom of skirt
  • CHEERLEADER 4 – maroon jersey/t-shirt, white stripes around bottom of sleeves, full school name across chest in small gray (? – pic quality isn’t that great when I zoom in, but it definitely isn’t white) varsity block lettering; black gym shorts
  • CHEERLEADERS 5 & 6 – long-sleeved black shirt with shimmery white and light gold across the shoulders and around the wrists, shortened school name in large black varsity lettering outlined in white; straight, fitted black skirt
  • CHEERLEADER 7 – maroon tank top with two yellow gold stripes along side and solid gold back, front of tank not clearly visible in picture but it looks like a picture of something (probably the mascot) in yellow gold; straight fitted maroon skirt with two yellow gold stripes down side and solid yellow gold back
  • CHEERLEADER 8 – sleeveless white top (front not visible); white skirt with maroon pleats

My friend didn’t get to the game until well into the first quarter, so this is live footage of me trying to figure out just what was going on:

what is happening

But then. Then it got worse. Because the alumni cheerleaders came out. And they were all wearing the exact same thing: black leggings with a yellow gold t-shirt.

Live footage of me reacting to that:

davd schitts creek whats going on

whitney looking around

whos in charge here m dear

And not only that, but they were better than the varsity cheerleaders. They did cheers throughout the game. They were loud. They seemed to be paying attention to what was happening on the field. Which, honestly, is no surprise considering the varsity cheerleaders couldn’t even figure out which one style of uniform to wear. When my poor friend showed up, she just kept getting an earful, and that earful was “It’s called a UNIFORM. UNI. FORM. UNI. UNI. It means ONE. ONE FORM. ONE.

And then the earful continued because “The alumni cheerleaders got it! THE OTHER TEAM’S CHEERLEADERS GET IT. WHAT IS GOING ON?????”

davd schitts creek whats going on

David gif repeated on purpose. Because seriously. WHAT WAS GOING ON? Do words just not have meaning anymore? Was this not what the first episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was all about?

I just…I was stressed. Because, you know….

back in my day

…back in my day, all the cheerleaders or members of the pom team etc. all wore the same thing so you know that they’re all one group of people on the same team, unified as one. Because it’s a UNIFORM.

That is all.

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10 Comments

  1. Becky Leff

    Well, I was in the band in high school, which was a marching band doing halftime shows during football season. We all wore the same uniform, and so did the cheerleaders. I have not been back to check up on my high school, but I can’t imagine that variety in a uniform is a thing now?

    Reply
    • Akilah

      My friend said maybe they got to pick their fave to show off the different uniforms the team has, but that still makes no sense to me, especially at the actual game.

      Reply
  2. Maureen Y Ingram

    This has me chuckling at your horror! Love that you included all the gifs, emphasizing your emotions. I am fascinated that the cheerleading squad was all dressed differently – though they do seem to have the maroon and gold as a theme. I am reminded of recent weddings, where bridesmaids have a similar color but different styles. I do love to watch cheerleaders – I would have been riveted by this. Fun topic for a slice! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Akilah

      I think if all of the uniforms had been the same color, I would have been less upset. I think. Maybe.

      Reply
  3. Glenda M. Funk

    There’s definitely something amiss in the cheerleader scenario. I can’t call what you described a uniform. I wonder if the entire squad had to sit the game out for some reason and what you saw may be a replacement cheer team. Cheerleaders still wear uniforms, and good squads have coaches who are very strict about that, from hairstyle, to shoelaces and socks. Everything is uniform. The cheer squad at my former school is amazing. They just won the state championship and won a national championship last year. I loved having those girls in class. They’re also state academic champions. Look up Highland High School Ram cheerleaders in Pocatello, Idaho. Best coach, too. You’ll see a uniform team.

    Reply
    • Akilah

      Oh, that is so cool! Congrats to them!

      Everyone did seem to have the same pink (…I don’t know why it was pink since that’s not even in the vocabulary of the school colors, sigh) hairbow, so that’s something, I guess.

      Reply
  4. Amy Juengst

    So, who won the game? Clearly not the cheerleaders.
    I’m sorry the mismatched multi-formed cheerleaders were so distracting that you weren’t able to focus on that lovely field. I’m going to guess the root of the problem leads to the coach, or lack of a coach. Hopefully the trauma doesn’t kill your school spirit entirely.

    Reply
    • Akilah

      Hahaha, the opposing team won right at the last minute, unfortunately for the home team. It was a good game, but you’re right that I may never recover.

      Reply
  5. Jennifer A Winkler

    This was such a fun read! I love how you play with the prefix. Get it together cheer coaches!

    Reply
    • Akilah

      Thank you!

      It was especially perplexing because the dance team all wore the exact same thing, down to their sparkly water bottles. So I have no idea what was going on with the actual cheerleading team. What a mess.

      Reply

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