Stand up and cheer
This morning in The Oklahoman,I wrote about the special-needs cheerleading squad at Empire Elite, a gym in Bethany. I thought it was a good story, I thought it was inspiring and frankly, I was pleased with my work.
I had only one hangup. Did this story belong on the sports page? One of my editors asked that question, not necessarily because he believed it didn’t belong, but because it’s his job to cover all the bases. I responded that the answer was yes. And here’s why.
Do you remember the M*A*S*H* episode where the wounded soldier suddenly believes he is Jesus Christ. The docs send psychiatrist Sidney Freedman in for some therapy, and the conversation goes something like this.
Freedman: I’m Dr. Freedman.
Soldier: I’m Jesus Christ.
Freedman: But you died.
Soldier: Yes, but I arose.
Freeman: If you’re Jesus, what you are doing here?
Soldier: This is a hospital. Where else should I be?
I say the same thing about the kids on the Heart of the Elite cheer squad. This is a sports page. Where else should they be? Where else should be a story about kids wanting to compete and belong? Where else should be a story about getting the opportunity to run and dance and yell? Where else should be a story about cheerleaders, who we see at virtually every game yet remain so invisible at times? Where else should be a story about some kids who make us stand up and cheer?
Maybe this story belongs on the sports page because who needs Jesus more than sick folks? Who needs a reminder about the important things in sport, the important things in life, more than those of us who gravitate to the sports page to check Byron Eaton’s turnover total and Blake Griffin’s free-throw percentage and the latest scandals from Kelvin Sampson and Roger Clemens.
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