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'Pompomgate' Is Not Worth Cheering About

January 13, 2002

Re "Pep Team Tryouts Get Jeered," Jan. 6:

Ever since my daughter was young, knowing she would eventually face the societal brainwashing that to be a cheerleader is the be-all and end-all, I have programmed her to avoid any cheerleading aspirations. Why direct competent athletic girls into cheerleading instead of gymnastics or track? To use their talents as a sort of sideshow at the more important, usually male football, baseball and basketball games is pathetic.

While I do not consider myself a feminist, I am embarrassed, not impressed. And to think it may encourage these competent young women to aspire to become professional cheerleaders is alarming. Not to mention the social schism that cheerleading creates at our high schools. Most cheerleaders come to believe that they are in a class of their own.

Kids who are excelling at academics are left to feel inferior to the attention-getting cheerleaders. The turmoil at Newport Harbor High could be easily avoided if we would simply direct our children to a competitive sport.

Diane Gomez

Costa Mesa

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The principal is the victim of a district office failing to support his authority and of board of trustees meddling. A policy was inflicted on him from a previous incident to give the power for selecting the cheerleaders to parent boosters instead of professional employees. When they messed it up, he took action to fix it. He may or may not have made a wise decision.

No wonder principals are hard to find these days.

Thomas E. Kolanoski

Costa Mesa

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Forget the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's whereabouts. No, what is of most urgency is getting to the bottom of "pompomgate" at Newport Harbor High School. Maybe we can convene the grand jury. Somebody call Ken Starr. Thank you, distinguished citizens of Newport Beach, for proving that we truly are getting back to normal.

David Perez

Irvine

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I have a few suggestions on the cheerleading "crisis" in Newport Beach. First, the administrators should skip cheerleading this year and invest their money in a way that actually benefits students.

Open the High School of Second Chances for pushy and overly involved parents. Here, moms and dads can pay to relive, or re-create, their own high school fantasies. Moms can be cheerleaders and homecoming queens. Competitive dads can try to be the super-jock they think their kids should be.

While their parents are busy, the kids can finally concentrate on what is really important: growing into responsible and mature adults.

To the young ladies who won't be twirling around on the court this spring: Move on; your life is not over.

While I never tried out for cheerleading, I did join the track team. I worked hard and ended up an All-American in the mile. I graduated from USC after competing on a full athletic scholarship.

I also know how it feels to be disappointed. In 1984, I missed qualifying for the Olympic trials in the 1,500-meter run by just 0.3-second. I was devastated. But there are no petitions, "do-overs" or tears to persuade the Olympic Committee to bend the rules. I picked myself up and started on my next goal.

You too need to move on. You'll be a stronger, more resilient person because of it.

Julie Hudash

Irvine

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