IT SEEMS to me that cheerleading has been a much-maligned activity. Gone are the days when cheerleaders were expected only to jump and look nice while doing it.
Today's cheerleaders practice intricate routines, spend hours upon hours getting their timing right and can hold their own with other athletes in the school.
Yes, athlete is a correct description of the modern cheerleader. Ever try to move and stretch for two hours? It takes training.
And, just to set the record straight, I didn't spend my high school days on the cheerleading squad. But, I do know how much those who did spent working at it.
On Oct. 12, the North County High School Parent Booster Club will sponsor the school's first Dawn to Dusk Cheerleading Competition.
Tom Thompson, spokesman for the club, said interest in the competition has been intense. "We've had over 1,600 hits on our Web site [Cheer-etc.com], and teams from Chicago, New York and New Jersey have expressed an interest in coming. We expect to have 4,000 people attending. We hope to make it an annual event," he said.
Ninety squads will compete in three major divisions. Recreational squads will compete in the youth division and high school squads in the high school division. Entrants in both divisions may also compete in the all-star division.
Cheerleaders may also compete as individuals, and groups of five cheerleaders may enter the team stunt competition. Any entrant may register for more than one division.
Fifteen certified cheerleading judges will decide the winners. First-, second- and third-place winners in each division will receive medals.
Trophies will be presented to the coaches of the winning team in each division. A grand championship trophy will be presented to the first-place winners in the individual and stunt competitions, and to the overall champion of each division, along with $500.
Five $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to the outstanding cheerleader in each division and in the individual and stunt competition.
Along with the competitions, there will be time for noncompetitive exhibitions by the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders, the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Maryland Terrapin cheerleaders and the Shooting Stars, the World Cup All Star Cheerleading national champions.
That makes for quite a busy day, and the North County High School cheerleaders are ready.
"It's very exciting. We will raise money for all of our sports programs, not just cheerleading. We're doing it for the school," said North County cheerleader Kristen Ritz.
Competition will begin at 8 a.m. at North County High School Stadium and will end at 9 p.m. Parking will be limited, and a shuttle bus will run continuously from Lindale Middle School to the North County High School Stadium. Admission is $4. Outside food, drinks and containers are not permitted inside the stadium.
The Brooklyn Park Library's Fall Festival Story Time will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 9 and at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 10.
Preschoolers and their caregivers can participate in games, stories, songs and crafts. The Brooklyn Park Library is at 1 E. 11th Ave. Information: 410-222-6260.
New meetings season
Now that school is back in session, area community associations are getting back into the swing by scheduling a new season of meetings.
The Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Brooklyn Park Elementary School, 10th Avenue and Morgan Road. Guests will be state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, Dels. Mary M. Rosso, Joan Cadden and John R. Leopold, and Councilman Pamela G. Beidle. Information: 410-636-3269.
The Arundel Improvement Association will hold its first meeting of the fall at 8 p.m. Thursday at the AIA Hall, 705 Cross St. All residents are encouraged to attend. . Information: 410-789-2192.