By Johnna Reynolds
All cheerleaders know the importance of the Spirit Stick. However, some fans and spectators may not. So, here's a little history lesson.
This story is about a squad attending a National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) camp way back in 1954. This squad had no technical skills. What they lacked in skills, they made up in being truly dedicated to the sport. They were always early, first to arrive, last to leave, and always cheering for the other squads. At this time, the NCA had no specific award for spirit. So, Lawrence Herkimer, founder of NCA, broke a twig from a nearby tree and presented it to the squad; declaring it the official spirit stick. To this day, all cheer squads and participants are expected to show spirit at all times.
This season, I have had the pleasure of meeting and watching many squads. I have watched them when they didn't know it. I have looked for the teams with the most spirit, the most genuine smiles, best eye contact, expressions of true joy and enthusiasm, and the most constant motion and energy. This year I have chosen two squads to receive the Golden Spirit Stick, White Deer Bucks and the Ira Bulldogs. Congratulations, ladies! You did an outstanding job!
I am looking forward to next year! Who will get the Spirit Stick, will it be your squad?
As always, I leave with the NCA song. Friends we are and friends we'll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders will always be 'til we meet again!
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