On Sunday, you might have noticed cheerleading as a front page sports story in The Covington News.
At first glance, you might say, ‘Cheerleading? Sports?'
Well, this week's column isn't to argue the point of whether cheerleading is a sport (although if I was asked whether it would be easier to hit a 90 mile per hour fastball, get tackled by a 300-pound lineman or do a standing back handspring, I'll grab a bat and tell The News' equipment manager to get my helmet ready first).
But again, the point of this isn't to anger any of the ladies who used to hold up a pyramid or, by any means, a 300-pound lineman. It is to look a little more at what I said at the beginning of the fall sports season and what was reported Sunday.
As a sports editor, my goal, and I'll be honest it's often difficult to keep to that goal, is to bring stories not scores.
And last week, a great sports story was brought to my attention. It just so happened to involve cheerleading. The Alcovy competitive cheerleading team recently won the Region 2-AAAAAA championship and finished as the 15th best team in Class AAAAAA. That is good news for Alcovy and area athletics in general.
However, it is also great news for the girls and their parents. The story goes back to the beginning of the competitive cheerleading season when the Tigers couldn't get the personnel to field a co-ed team, and had to resort to all girls for the first time.
Shortly after that, Alcovy's cheerleading coach left the team three weeks into the season. At that point, some of the cheerleaders left, including two senior captains.
Just weeks before region competition, two more captains left, leaving the team with three seniors to mentor a team that now had seven of its 14 athletes as freshmen.
From there, new coach Karen Booth, who was previously the Tigers' assistant, inserted a routine that increased in difficulty throughout each competition and the girls stepped up to the challenge.
Alcovy hit the mats after school, practicing up to six days a week, even holding sessions at 6 a.m. when needed.
That kind of dedication is what makes this story special. That no matter how many of their teammates and friends decided to move on, the group that remained stayed involved and continued to support each other.
And if I remember correctly back to my high school days, it took a lot to get me awake to go to school. So it would have taken a whole lot to get me up and out the door at 6 a.m. (and not to be sexist but from what I've learned throughout the years, it takes girls longer to do hair, makeup and accessorize the fashions of the day than it did for me to slap on some deodorant, throw on a T-shirt and head out the door, so Alcovy's cheerleaders probably awoke even earlier). Now that's a group of dedicated athletes.
Now, even if Alcovy would have finished dead last in the region competition, the girls would have had something to be proud of in my mind. But the fact that they are champions and took the name of their school and their story to another level with a title is awesome.
Good job to Alcovy for not being overcome by adversity. Hard work seems to be a little less in vogue these days. Times are hard all around whether it's teammates leaving us, employers not being able to maintain full staffs or the stock market struggling, it's great to see that there is still a determination.
It doesn't matter if those overcoming struggles are national heroes, financial experts, a youngster raising funds for a good cause or a group of cheerleaders overcoming their struggles. Stories that inspire us such as this one needs to be in the spotlight.