I’m not all into the politics of scoring or why there is such a hold up in the universal scoring system, but I believe that if someone just took charge and said “this is how it’s going to be” and didn’t let parents and/or coaches run things, then it would be a fast increase in making all-star cheer a sport. I always use gymnastics as an example because that’s where I originated from. I was a gymnast for over 12 years, and it didn’t matter which competition I went to, I knew I would always be scored the same way. Yes it has changed in the instance that level 7 is now optional and there is now no such thing as a perfect 10, HOWEVER, when the scoring system changed for gymnastics, it just changed. One fell swoop and boom, it was done. I’m sure there was a lot in the developing stages that we didn’t see or weren’t aware of, but as soon as it changed, that was it. Okay…this is how we’re doing gymnastics scoring now. I’m sure people were upset, but what are they going to do about it? Quit? THAT’S AWESOME…we don’t need the negativity!
In an industry like cheerelading every competition or wants to stand out and be different, but I don’t think scoring should have ANYTHING to do with that. You can go to a JAMFest competiton, a UCA competition, and an Epic Brands competition and I guarantee, you can and will find 3 differnt things that you like (and possibly dislike) at each one of those competitions. Every cheerleading company wants to be the best (understandable), but scoring should be the least of the worries at any competition. Yes, you might come across some crappy judges, but you can weed those out with the universal scoring system. Makes it that much easier. As a cheer community, we should know what is level 1 appropriate across the board, we should know what a level 4 athlete SHOULD be able to do. I also think the universal scoring system will eliminate competitions who allow teams to compete in a level they should not be in. If a team/gym/program continues to try and push their kids to compete at a level they’re not ready for, they won’t win, and parents will get upset and leave that program.
People think that in order to have a successful gym, you have to have higher level teams…WRONG! In order to have a successful team you need…let’s say it all together…PROGRESSION! So what if you’re 9 years old on a level 1 team? As long as you’re learning step by step, you’ll be a great level 3 cheerleader one day, or maybe not. Cheerelading isn’t for everyone.
Back to the scoring system. There are too many people trying to determine what makes cheerleading special, and the people with the most power are money hungry, which is why some of this stuff is still allowed. I would rather have less people spending money on a successful industry than taking people for all they have. Rarely do you have gymnastics programs that have a bunch of athletes that are competing at a level that they shouldn’t be; mainly because of the progression system. But I also think another reason, is because gymnastics has been around for many years and it’s very established. In the cheerleading world, we need someone to lay down the law, this is how it’s going to be, because I said so. Yes, there will be upset people, but that’s the way of the world. Nobody is entitled, and we need to let people know that. Let’s enjoy cheerleading, let’s make good cheerelading enjoyable, let’s have a universal scoring system that is used at EVERY. SINGLE. COMPETITION. so that there isn’t so much diversity in our community. We know everyone has their favorite team and people will always complain about how they feel someone should have won, which happens in every sport, but when there becomes a full on argument about why this team SHOULD have won based on “skill sets” that’s where it needs to end. As a coach, you should know how to max out the score sheet, and it should be obvious to other cheer fans, or easily explained to people why another team won. There shouldn’t be any questions about why a judge called a bobble this or that. Just like in football, penalties are called that not everyone agrees with, and sometimes they’re called wrong, but there are protocols for things like that for competitions. Just like in football, the coach can throw the red flag, there are rules like that in cheerleading. Those rules need to be regulated as well, but they definitely need to be rules.
So many ideas floating around that probably need to be put into action so that we can finally become a sport. I know I don’t know everything and I definitely don’t have ALL the answers but I’m sure a universal scoring system would help our “non sport” become an offical sport.
Thank you for reading!