Cheer squad deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By Michael Penn

September 2, 2014

Being on the Griffon cheer squad takes a unique set of athletic talent that few people possess. The squad has practices during the summer, the school year and is always cheering at the different sporting events whether the are Griffons dominating the other team or struggling against an opponent. They are athletes, on scholarship, supporting Missouri Western even if nobody else is. Like all athletes, the cheer squad is very dedicated to their sport, their team, and this school, but they still do not receive the respect that they deserve from the students or the athletic department. Griffon cheerleaders are forced to practiced in the balcony of the Looney Complex, they do not consistently receive new uniform designs like the other teams, and they are constantly over looked, or last to be considered, by the athletic department. To top it all off the men and women of the cheer squad have had to deal with a long coaching carousel that had gone on for many years. If people had thought that the cheer squad did not deserve recognition or a fair amount of respect before, they better rethink that after this summer. The Missouri Western cheer squad attended a cheerleading camp earlier this month at North West Missouri State University. The squad had practices all day and had to compete in front of judges using routines they had learned during camp. The cheer squad performed so well that they received bids to go to the National Cheer Association Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship next semester in Daytona, Florida. This would be a nice accomplishment for any squad but it is a monumental accomplishment for the Griffon cheer squad because this is the first time they have been invited to such a prestigious competition. It is unfortunate that the squad did not even have a link on the athletics page until they won their bids to nationals. They were part of athletics before they received the bids and it would make sense for them to have a link long before they even went to camp. Maybe they do not score touchdowns or shoot three point shots but they are a team full of extremely athletic, hardworking people who earned the right to go to a national event and compete. They deserve respect and recognition, but it begins with the students. Do not be afraid to congratulate a member of the Griffon cheer squad on their accomplishments. They deserve the respect just as much, if not more, than everyone else.