Treat cheer the same as other team sports
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Hi, I'm a varsity cheerleader for Washougal High School in Washington state and my team has run into a dilemma. Tryouts are this Sunday and a couple days ago, we were told that our maximum number of team members for basketball cheer would be reduced from 16 to 12, but our coaches urged our athletic director to let them keep 16 cheerleaders. We were presented with the compromise of 2 separate cheer teams for varsity, each team having 8 people, with each team cheering for alternating games. This poses many problems. We will no longer be able to do some of the larger group stunts for which we need all 16 people, our performances will be separate, we will no longer have our traditional routine for lineup, and our team will not be as unified as it is now. This splitting of the team prevents us from reaching our full potential in regards to stunts, performances, and closeness between team members. Us cheerleaders were told that the reasoning behind this change was regarding a lawsuit in Oregon filed by the family of a girl who was seriously injured due to falling from a stunt. This lawsuit should not affect us the way it is because unlike the team she was stunting with, we take the appropriate safety measures for stunting, including adequate spotting, trained coach supervision, and following a strict path of stunt progression. I also have yet to see our football team downsize due to an injury lawsuit in another state. We were also told that there are too many people in our gymnasium during basketball games, but there are almost always open spots in the stands, and if that is referring to the number of people on the court and sidelines, why haven't the basketball teams seen similar reductions in numbers? I am desperately looking for help from our wonderful community to bring justice and respect to our Washougal cheerleaders. If there is any way you could possibly help get this word out or help it would be greatly appreciated!
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