SUBVERSIVE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
It’s football season: games, cheers, cheerleaders. I mention to the teen, even though she didn’t make the cheerleading squad, maybe she should try out for the Subversives.
My suggestion was met with a neck-scrunch to the left, a hip sway to the right and a great big “Huhhh??”
I repeated “The Subversives… you know. You know?”
She didn’t know. I asked around… and decided most people were unfamiliar with subversive cheerleading, a tactic my old high school employed in the 60s. Maybe this says something positive about the current generation, that there’s less trickiness, more fair play; or maybe my generation was more easily fooled.
Maybe our high school just had a perverted sense of fair play. Because, let’s face it, subversive cheerleading was a nasty, rotten thing to do and I loved it. It was our way of taking the home crowd out of the game.
Here’ how it worked. The subversives would travel with the team, dress in our opponents uniforms and lead cheers designed to cause confusion and self doubt among the home crowd.
Qualifications to be on the “Subversives” were:
A. A vertical leap not to exceed twelve inches.
B. Stiff upper and lower lips.
C. Making a pyramid with your hands only.
D. Be able to “Cheer” without varying your pitch.
E. Appear before a real pep rally yelling “Let’s Go Team” and having the crowd yell back “Are you sure about that?”
The game plan would be to work the opposite side from the genuine cheerleaders, sometimes kidnap a few of the genuines, bind them beneath the stands, then jump out the opportune time when it appears the crowd might be having a positive effect. The subversives then hit them with cheers like:
“They’re bigger than us. They’re bigger than us. So what do you say? Do we have to play?”
When the home team is behind, the subversives yell:
“That’s all right! That’s all right! At least we’re not getting beat… as bad as we did last week!”
My favorite subversive cheer was always:
“What do we want? What do we want? We want … our money back!!”
Times have changed. In my day, no Uzis, no AK-47s. Today, subversive cheerleading could be dangerous.