SI Vault
Martin Kane
November 07, 1955
When men granted suffrage to women it was a time when all football cheerleaders were men. They wore sweaters and white flannels, carried megaphones and used fine stentorian voices to exhort the crowds. The crowds responded in rhythmic male choruses of "rah!" and "fight!" There were in those days neither public-address systems nor girl cheerleaders nor prancing majorettes. A football field was not yet the setting for a TV Spectacular with routines by a Jackie Gleason chorus. Women went to the games only to wear yellow chrysanthemums and attend fraternity dances afterward. Very likely they were bored by everything else. But now the times have changed, and maiden-aunt types who would not know a long cheer from a short beer, much less recognize a pitchout, are enthralled each football weekend by cheers and half-time shows both in rock-and-roll rhythm and with star billing for a line of girls doing a fast and leggy cancan. Quite a few men seem to like this too.
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November 07, 1955

From 'rah' To The Supersonic

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The newest college cheer appears to be "The Supersonic," turned loose a few weeks ago at The College of the Pacific. The cheering section stands, mouths open and hands waving but voiceless. It then sits, waits a few seconds and breaks out with a loud "Va, va booooom!" This is to indicate that the cheering section has cracked the sound barrier. The most indigenous cheer, very probably, is that of the University of Arkansas, whose team is called The Razorbacks. The yell is the time-honored call of the hog farmer ("Soooo———eeee, pig!") repeated twice and followed by a "fight, fight, fight!"

Army signals a touchdown by firing a field piece. Navy releases a weather balloon. Cheerleaders at Miami and Maryland have more strenuous routines. At Miami they run around the stadium bearing hurricane flags. Last year, when Miami beat Fordham 75-7, this required a dozen trips. "You can," says a Miami cheerleader, "get pooped that way."

At Maryland the 12 girl cheerleaders get on their knees and salaam the team in unison once for every point in the Maryland total at that moment. When the score is running high a male cheerleader appeals to the crowd to let the girls do their counting by twos or even fives. Once, when the score was at 60 points, the stands demanded a one-by-one count.

This sort of thing may spread.

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