In high school being a cheerleader is a status symbol sought after by a whole legion of young girls, and boys, that are still building their personal social network and are also building their own image of themselves. Being a cheerleader in high school helps young girls and boys improve their self-esteem and also helps them to improve their social skills as they become part of one of the most popular groups of people in school. When you reach college you find that being a cheerleader is a very sought after position for men and women. Many colleges take their cheerleading squads very seriously and cheerleaders in college work very hard at their craft. Within the ranks of high school and college cheerleaders there is national championships held at various places around the country where cheerleading squads compete to see who is the best and win not only bragging rights but cash and prizes. Cheerleading competitions are broadcast on national television and enjoy a high level of popularity. But what about professional sports?
Professional sports has an entirely different atmosphere to it than high school and college sports do. There isn’t that long cheerleading tradition in professional sports like there is in high school and college which makes cheerleading a huge part of high school and college sports but not so much a part of professional sports. The National Hockey League tried cheerleaders a long time ago and the idea was met with resistance by the fans and was soon dropped. Why is that? It could be that when people get out of college and high school they no longer see a need for cheerleaders and some come to resent cheerleaders for their clique status in high school and college. People pay a lot of money to see professional sporting events and it is doubtful that someone that has paid a lot of money to see a sporting event is going to need extra inspiration to cheer for their favorite team. The duty of the cheerleader in professional sports seems to not be valid.
Another theory is the way that cheerleaders are portrayed at the different levels. At the high school level great care is take to make the cheerleader squad a place of respect and a place where impressionable youths can mature with dignity. In college there is more of a sense that cheerleaders serve a purpose and the fact that there is male and female cheerleaders help to take the edge off of the potential sexual exploitation that could happen at the college level. In professional sports cheerleaders are almost all female and the sexual exploitation is rampant in professional sports cheerleading. Traditionally things that are created and displayed for sexual exploitation are also met with ridicule by the general public. Since the only tradition that professional sports cheerleaders seem to have is that of exploitation then it is no wonder that few professional sports fans take cheerleaders very seriously at all.