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Kate’s Take: The Leaders of the Cheers


While we await the news of the draft lottery, I thought I’d give a little shout-out to a different Big Blue Team.

Back in the day, (Side note: My husband, who is quite a bit older than me, always complains about people in their twenties using the phrase “Back in the day”, as in “Back in the day, people didn’t have MP3 players or texting, we had to deal with bulky CD players and AOL instant messaging”.) Anyway, back in the day I had one dream and that was to be a cheerleader. I’m sure girls nowadays have dreams like being policemen (people?) or firefighters or reality TV stars, but most girls I grew up with in the 80s had basically two dreams in mind: to be a princess or to be a cheerleader. And to be “head cheerleader” ala Kelly Kapowski would be, like, completely amazingly awesome!

Alas, I grew up and realized that cheerleading required a flexibility and vocal stamina that I would never reach. Still, I find myself watching the squad at lulls in the game (probably not for the same reasons you boys are watching them) and admiring their spirit, enthusiasm, and perceived ultimate popularity. Cheerleading will never go out of style.

We’re pretty spoiled as UK fans with our cheerleading squad. Take a look at these stats:

18 National Championships
Only team to win back to back championships three times (’87 and ’88, ’95 and ’96, and ’08, ’09’10)
Only squad ever to win 3 championships in a row
Only squad ever to win 4 championships in a row
Only squad ever to win 5 championships in a row (seeing a trend?)
Only squad every to win 6, 7, and 8 in a row
Has been featured on the “CBS Morning Show”, “Southern Living”, “Seventeen” and “Gentleman’s Quarterly”

Not only that, but they have endured the wrath of Joakim Noah, watched Mr. Two Bits steal their cheer, and survived unscathed through the Gillispie experiment. I’m not sure many other squads would be able to beat those stats alone.

I joke around, but I think we all realize how valuable the team is to “The Team”. I’ve been friends with a lot of the girls on the squad over the past couple years and I can honestly say they work as hard as anyone on the court (except maybe Cal himself) promoting the brand and representing the University.  And though they’re often seen as side-notes to the real action at the games, they do their job of getting the crowd pumped up and creating a home court advantage at Rupp unrivaled anywhere else.

Article written by Katie Martin