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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

The type of acrobatics seen at a Cirque de Soleil show is similar to Acro dance.

New forms of cheerleading seek "sport" status from NCAA


Don't look now, but the next major decision about the world of sports is not whether to make the designated hitter uniform in the major leagues.

The next big issue is going to be whether we should all think that cheerleading is a sport.

Maybe you think I'm kidding, but just turn to last week's Time magazine or a recent ESPN special, both of which examined this issue.

There is even a controversy within the sport, which makes it all the more likely that it will be sanctioned.

The new sport is called Acro, and is created from combining acrobatics and tumbling. Its competing sister sport is called Stunt.

Both of these have petitioned the NCAA to make them a real "sport" under Title IX rules. Title IX is designed to ensure equal opportunities with men in collegiate athletics. Men still have the edge, but if a woman wants to participate in a collegiate sport, the odds are she will be able to do so.

Anyhow, back to the issue at hand.

Acro and Stunt are really cheerleading on steroids. They have both exorcised all that is good about cheerleading and have embraced all that is bad.

I love cheerleaders because of the following reasons:

The girls are usually pretty. They cheer for the team I'm cheering for. Midriffs. White vinyl boots. Those flip skirts. Decolletage. Big smiles. That little hop they do when running off the court or field. Sometimes those cheap all-white tennies instead of those high white vinyl boots. An obvious lust to get the crowd fired up. How they all sit the exact same way with their pompon shakers anchored to each hip.

None of those things exist in Acro or Stunt.

Instead they bring us different types of outfits, but mainly they consist of shorts and T-shirts. These girls look like volleyball players without the white socks and knee pads. They don't smile, instead they have intense focus, just like real athletes do. No midriffs in sight, much less any decolletage.

As I happened to mention before, there is an intense dispute between Acro and Stunt as to which one is the real deal. The Acro people think Stunt is too much like cheerleading (like that's a bad thing). The Stunt people think Acro is made up of stuffed shirts.

In fact, it's almost impossible to tell them apart. I know. I've seen both in action.

Wait, it's not like I actually went to one of the very, very rare meets held around the country. I went to You Tube to check this out.

The hotbed of Acro seems to be the University of Oregon, which should tell you something about this whole thing right there. Do you know what you call a female duck? A duck.

And you know what they say. If it quacks like a duck, if it does flips and routines like a duck and if they build those crazy human pyramids like a duck, it's probably really a cheerleader.

An NCAA sport? Back to your high white vinyl boots girls.

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