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COLUMN: My inner cheerleader still wants to come out

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By Shannon Brock

Pep rallies were something I considered myself a little bit of an expert on — at least until Monday.

In high school, I was a varsity cheerleader for three years. I consider my school to be pretty high in the school spirit department, so we had our fair share of pep rallies. During any one of the rallies, you could find me at center court because in Bell County, the cheerleaders were pretty much in charge of the spirit fests.

In hindsight, I think it’s because no one else wanted to be.

What I’m getting at is that — until Monday — I had never attended a pep rally as a spectator. And, honestly, that’s the main reason I decided to attend the community-wide celebration in support of the Bearcats. I wanted that new experience. I wanted to know what it was like to be a fly on the gymnasium wall.

I especially felt like an outsider because I do not live in Anderson County (more on this in weeks to come) and I did not attend that high school.

It might go without saying, but I had never attended a pep rally outside my home county, so this was new for me in all sorts of ways.

I felt completely out of the loop, and I had no idea what was going to happen next, which made me a little guarded. In this situation, I was by no means an expert.

Even so, I have to say this is one time I liked the surprises. I was especially impressed with all of the local dignitaries in attendance.

Looking back into my cheering days, I cannot recall a single time the mayor or a state representative attended one of our events — then again, my team didn’t make it to the Sweet 16.

It’s possible that our superintendent may have made an appearance at a pep rally or two, I really don’t remember. But I can say with full certainty that no one ever came in and bestowed the honor of Kentucky Colonel on anyone at a Bell County Bobcat pep rally. At least it didn’t happen from 1999 to 2003.

To me, a pep rally is not a pep rally without the cheerleaders, so I have to give a shout out to the Anderson County squad. You girls did marvelous. I know it takes a lot of courage to stand in front of your school, try to get a sometimes unresponsive crowd to yell with you and yes, even “boogie down.” Good job, and good luck at state.

As much as I wanted just once to be a spectator, I would have given anything to be down there with them. Cheering is probably the thing I miss most about high school.

Not to say that I won’t attend another one, but when it comes to pep rallies, I’d much rather participate than spectate — even if it is six years past my time.

E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.