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From the editor’s desk… Giving kudos to the cheerleaders

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com 
It would almost be totally unfair to a special group of young people who really got the short end of the stick during the 2020-2021 basketball season if this Sports Editor didn’t take just a moment to recognize them before basketball season winds to an end.

Those young people are the cheerleaders of the area high schools and middle schools who somehow slipped under the radar when basketball was allowed to move forward with decisions by the governor and TSSAA to not allow the school cheerleaders to not be a part of the game.

What didn’t make sense was that these athletes work on the same timetable as football and basketball teams do and to shorten their opportunity during basketball season stole half of the season from those who have worked tremendously hard to be as much a representative of the school as the basketball teams.

These cheerleaders were not allowed to cheer during much of the season and when they were cleared to once again participate, many schools didn’t allow visiting teams to bring their cheerleaders which didn’t make much sense either other to control the visitor’s support unit.

Elizabethton High School was one school that allowed visiting teams to bring their cheerleaders once the order was lifted that kept the cheerleaders from participating.

However, when going to Sullivan County schools and Greene County schools, the cheerleaders from Carter County weren’t allowed to make the trip which made no sense whatsoever.

The gyms continued to grow in attendance but cheerleaders weren’t allowed – that was a head-scratcher.

What many don’t understand is the amount of money that these athletes have to pay out to cover the cost of their uniforms, any tumbling or cheer classes they participate in to become better cheerleaders, and other costs that have to come out of the pockets of the cheerleader’s family.

Anyway, nothing can be done to recapture the time these young people missed but I felt it was important to take time to just say a big ‘Thank You’ to all the senior cheerleaders from Elizabethton, Cloudland, Unaka, Happy Valley, and Hampton for your commitment to your schools.

I am sure you will be missed in the upcoming season.

To those that are returning, a word of encouragement not to take anything for granted as the future seems somewhat unclear. Enjoy the time you have to support your school, give everything you have in every cheer you have, and always make memories.

Hopefully, the 2021-2022 season will get back to normal, and once again you will be able to show that athletic ability that you have worked so hard to display.