A Brief History
On November 2, 1898, the day recognized as the “birth of cheerleading,” University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell became the first cheerleader in history, directing fans in cheering on the Golden Gophers football team. UM proudly calls itself the “Birthplace of Cheerleading,” and apparently deserves that title.
Prior to Campbell’s date with history, regular fans that would start cheers in the stands were called “cheerleaders,” on an unofficial basis. Today, most high school, college, and professional sports teams have cheerleaders, with a few notable exceptions.
The Cleveland Browns famously or infamously do not and never have had cheerleaders, and for this year neither do the Bills, Bears, Chargers, Giants, Packers, or Steelers. Baseball teams usually do not have cheerleaders, but they do in Korea!
Oddly enough, although you do not see cheerleaders at the Olympics, cheerleading could become an Olympic sport! As incredibly athletic as cheerleaders have to be, do you agree with making cheerleading an Olympic event?
Question for students (and subscribers): In your opinion, what team has the best cheerleaders? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Hanson, Mary Ellen. Go! Fight! Win!: Cheerleading in American Culture. University of Wisconsin Press, 1995.
Valliant, Doris. History of Cheerleading (Let’s Go Team–Cheer, Dance, March). Mason Crest, 2003.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.