About the lead story on the front page. Some of you may be asking why that is at the top of the page. Any other week, we might be leading with a story about housing chickens in your back yard. Or, we could be giving details about a proposed entertainment district in downtown Glendale, or the light rail route and its impact on the city.
In the past year, the news has been about the mayoral and council races, and the possible move by the Arizona Coyotes from Gila River Arena to an East Valley venue. Instead, we are talking this week about a pom coach’s firing.
Yes, it has the appearance of being one-sided, since Deer Valley Unified School District officials are prohibited from publicly disclosing conversations about a personnel issue. People outside the school district offices and the high school administrative offices, however, are free to say what they please. That is the way the system operates.
Parents of students on the Mountain Ridge pom squad, from what we have been told, are supportive of the pom coach. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere, but nobody is saying what that particular problem is, or where it began.
For all we know, it could be nothing more than a personality conflict between the school principal and the coach. Or, it could be a situation involving scheduling and lengths of practices. It could also be a complaint brought against the coach by a student who did not make the cut.
There are any number of reasons for a coach to be fired. Most of the time, however, it is because a team is not doing well in competition. That is not the case here. So, for those who are searching for a good reason, the answer may never be revealed.
But the story is worth telling. It points out how competitive the art of cheerleading has become. From what was once a group of girls and boys good at rousing up the crowd at high school games, society has elevated it to a sport itself.
If you’re past your 40s, you may remember when merely doing the splits midair was a feat mastered by few, but praised as a worthy effort. Not good enough for today’s elite pom squads. No, you must be agile, athletic, strong, and able to perform elaborate gymnastic moves. If you cannot do those things with a blast of showmanship, you do not make the team.
Perhaps this entire unfortunate occurrence will pass with no detrimental impact on the students involved. It has already caused the coach emotional distress, and it would not be wise to further traumatize (if that is the proper word) the pom team members. Let it, instead, be a good lesson in dealing with something that happens and you don’t know why it happens.
You ask why and nobody tells you. What can you do?
Go to class, study hard, and find a place outside the school setting to continue your pursuit of precision pom dancing. This is not the end of the world.