Cheerleaders Prove Themselves

By Kimberley S. Younger

It's 1:30 PM on a Saturday af-ternoon and you've got noth-ing better to do. So you check your current Eagle, and you see a Mendocino College Eagle's football game is scheduled to start at 2 PM. You figure why not go out and watch the game. There's nothing on TV and your girlfriend just left you. You get to the field and show your ASMC card to get in. You settle down in your seat, with your soda and hot dog. Then surprise hits you square in the stomach. 9 college girls appear in front of the stands and begin leading cheers. It's like a vision sent from God or something. Who are those girls, you wonder and sit up a little straighter in your seat. Hey don't you know one of them. "Isn't she in one of my classes?" you think to yourself.

Seriously though. Have you seen the Eagle Cheerleaders in action yet? At first there were only three but now there are nine of them. The team started out as an idea last semester in the minds of some girls who couldn't understand why Mendocino College didn't have a cheerleading squad and wondered if that was the reason that more people didn't come to the games. After seeing them in action on Saturday October 19, 1996, I can honestly say that without them, football games at Mendocino College would be spiritless.

The squad got it's start as an idea in the heads of Tammy Pettus, Michelle Pearson and Amanda Pardini. So they hunted for a possible advisor and sat down to arrange practices. Candie Dickinson agreed to be their advisor and to give up some of her free time to open a room so the girls would have a place to practice. They worked hard all summer long to earn money to pay for their uniforms doing things like helping at the Ukiah Airshow. It should also be mentioned that the team started out at the beginning of the summer with many girls but for one reason or another they all dropped except for Tammy, Michelle, and Amanda. Once the semester started, the girls and their advisor officially started the club and began recruiting. At first it seemed slow. Nobody seemed to be interested, but then Selena Bach joined. Suddenly they had five new girls joined up and they were on their way. Melissa, Mariah, Jessie, Olivia and Cory have rounded out the team.

They work very hard. In addition to three mandatory practices a week, the cheerleaders also have a community service project. They volunteer with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and teach the kids tumbling, cheering, and dancing. If you go to any of the home games you can see the results of the work in the form of the bright, smiling faces of the PAL cheerleaders. Their efforts are much appreciated by the folks at PAL who think of the Eagle cheerleaders as a godsend. "Those girls are so good with the younger ones, and it shows in every smile," was how one anonymous person at PAL put it. Tammy Pettus, President of the Cheerleading Club, says it best about how hard the MC students work to be cheerleaders: "The girls on the squad have worked very hard for this. They not only go to school but most work to support themselves and they still find time to attend the three mandatory practices."

While working and practice isn't everything, it takes up a lot of their time. They go to every game. You see them down in front of the bleachers, no matter what the weather, leading cheers and yelling for our football players at the top of their lungs. You will also see them supporting the volleyball, basketball and baseball teams. They do the half-time show at home games, and they really do a great job. A player who wishes to remain anonymous (probably has a girlfriend) said, "It's great having the girls out there calling cheers for us. It makes us feel like we have some support, and that it matters to someone if we win."

Candie Dickinson, the cheerleaders advisor, may be one reason why they have survived so long. She was in on the idea of a cheerleading squad almost from the beginning and although she will say differently, if she hadn't been there to open the room for the girls to practice in, the cheerleading squad may have died a premature death. Candie is a mother and counselor for the girls. She is there whenever the girls cheer to encourage them and keep them pepped. Tammy says," All the girls on the squad appreciate Candie's help. We also appreciate the support of the school." Candie feels the same way about the squad. "It has been my pleasure to work with the Cheerleaders. I'm so proud of what they have accomplished in such a short time. They are committed, hardworking students who care about their school."

The Cheerleading Club have other goals besides their community project and cheering. They are committed to sponsoring and supporting other Mendocino College student activities, such as dances and "get-acquainted" BBQ's.

So if you find yourself at loose ends on the weekends, come on out to the college and watch the football game. The cheerleading show during halftime is something that every student should support. It helps build spirit in our team and in our school.

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