is now a sport! What does this mean? The Regents unanimously approved the new interscholastic sport “competitive cheer” at their April meeting. They acted on a recommendation from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), which has studied the matter and encouraged the change for several years. What do competitive cheerleaders do? The official status clears the way for NYSPHSAA to enforce safety rules, set standards for competition and, with the State Education Department, regulate the training and certification of competitive cheerleading coaches. The organization hopes to stage state cheerleading championships, similar to those held for basketball and football, within two years. What about games? A separate activitylevel category called “traditional cheer” will remain available for squads that emphasize sideline spirit-raising activities and perform routines without stunts, lifts or tumbling. Is this just a trend in New York? Some 34 other states already recognize cheerleading as a sport. What does this mean? Now, competitive cheerleading coaches will be required to have the same training and certifications as other high school coaches in New York, including training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, concussion management, child abuse reporting and the Dignity for All Students Act. What rules will cheerleaders follow? In a report issued in February 2011, NYSPHSAA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Cheerleading recommended that New York adopt most of the standards and regulation set by the National Federation of State High School Associations in its Spirit Rules Book. What are some specific rules? Those rules include a minimum of 15 practices for a squad doing stunts or tumbles in a competition or performance and 13 practices for any individual member of the squad. What will I notice at games? Stunting, Tumbling, Jumping are enormous skills to safely teach. We teach in progressions and time taken away from that is hazardous to the athlete's safety. Again the requirements of our sport as well as learning new rubrics are time consuming. What will I notice at games? Being at games two to three times a week while still practicing 5-6 days a week is exhausting and not fair to the athlete. For example on nights they are to cheer at games for 2 hours they still have 2-3 hour practices for competitive routine. What will I notice at games? But our fans need our cheerleaders! What will this year look like? The state has recognized that cheerleaders need the practice time and coaches need the training of all other sports. The coaching team at Lyme Central School Two of college cheerleaders and one consists cheerleaders from both the old All-Star National Champion! school and the new school! What will this year look like? The coaching team’s philosophy at Lyme Central School is that taking away all games would be detrimental to maintaining the important traditions of high school cheerleading. What did cheer look like in the past? Rah! Rah! Sis boom bah! What did cheer look like in the past? Chik-a-lak-a, Chik-a-lak-a, Chow, Chow, Chow. Boom-a-rak-a, Boom-a-rak-a, Bow, Wow, Wow. What did cheer look like in the past? We’re from Lyme And couldn’t be prouder. And if you can’t hear us We’ll yell a little louder. Watermelon Watermelon What did cheer look like in the past? Watermelon rind. Look at the scoreboard and see who’s behind! You! You! You! What did cheer look like in the past? Hey, there, Hi, there, how do you do! Lyme Central Cheerleaders have a cheer for you! What did cheer look like in the past? Thunder… Thunderation… Oh, wait, we still do that! What did cheer look like in the past? We’ve learned how to do shoulder stands! Cheerleading at Lyme ties together generations of athletes! That’s my mom! Cheerleading at Lyme ties together generations of athletes! That’s my sister! What will this year look like? We also recognize that cheering at games gives us a vehicle to practice a large part of cheerleading competition – the art of performing. What will this year look like? We will cheer at an equal number of boys and girls games. Some schools in our league still have cheerleaders only cheer for the boys. We feel this is sexist and not fair to our girl basketball players. What will this year look like? We will not cheer for ALL games, however. 2-3 games per week would not allow us to practice our own skills and be ready for our own competitions. What will this year look like? We have agreed upon a schedule with Mr. Davis that averages one game per week. If we are having to learn game material and use precious practice time at games, how will we be able to compete with teams who only compete? We’ve taken the following steps to try to keep us competitive: Tumbling classes through Double Play Sports • Paid for by the athletes • Tumbling coaches come to the school • After cheer season is over, we would like to open this to upcoming cheerleaders to develop their skills. We’ve taken the following steps to try to keep us competitive: Coach Wagenaar has used her stipend this year to pay for the services of a choreographer. • Ali Ruperd is a certified judge and knows all the new rules. • Ali is also a coach for the all-star team, CNY Storm. • Other schools also use choreographers to make them competitive; this is our first year to give it a try. We’ve taken the following steps to try to keep us competitive: The school bought three practice cheerleader mats for us this year. YAY!!! • These mats are so much safer because they do not slide around. • We really need two more so that everyone can fit on them. Will next year be the same? The simple fact is that we want to support our teams but also want to be competitive in our sport. Will next year be the same? This is a transitional year for cheerleading. Changes will occur as we figure out how the sport will look state-wide. Thank you for your support as we evolve as a sport this year!