Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Daddies, don't let your babies grow up to be cheerleaders

By now, you've probably all seen video of the Southern Illinois University cheerleader who fell on her head from the top of a pyramid configuration during a basketball game on Sunday, breaking her neck and sustaining a concussion—but not without continuing to cheer and do all her arm movements while being carried out, strapped down in a neck brace on a stretcher. I'm no doctor (I'm just married to one), but watching the newsclip the other day, I couldn't help but think that that couldn't have been good for her condition.

Well, the perky convalescent was on the Today Show this morning, and as they cut to her sitting on the couch in the upcoming-segment preview, she started doing jazz-hands and all those arm movements again, in her SIU cheer outfit and matching neckbrace. I'm sure the doctor who accompanied her was thrilled. (I had to restrain myself from yelling at the t.v., "Stop it! Stop moving! Stop it!") When I was able to focus on anything but the jazz-hands, I noticed her face. Uh-oh, I thought. She looks Asian, hapa at least.

And then they introduced her. Yep. Kristy Yamaoka, the cheerleader with so much school spirit she wouldn't let something as minor as, say, a broken freakin' vertebra and being strapped to a backboard keep her out of the game. (Did no EMT whisper to her, you know, these straps and things, don't you get the message that YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO MOVE?!) My favorite part of the interview: Katie goes, how are you feeling, and Kristy goes, Oh, I feel fine, 'cause of the support of all my fellow cheerleaders, etc. Yeah, it's not the freakin' MORPHINE or the CONCUSSION or anything.

Just the other day, la dra. was remarking to my mother-in-law that The Pumpkin would never be allowed to be a cheerleader, 'cause didn't you see that crazy girl who fell off the top of the pyramid and broke her neck and still kept cheering? And we didn't even know she was Asian at that point. Because, with our luck and the curse of genetics, The Pumpkin is not going to be starting for the WNBA any time soon. We come from short people—short Filipinos, short Japanese, short Jews—there just ain't no gettin' around it. [Though, as our kindly elderly white neighbor lady put it once, when we tried to explain our baby's petiteness via our own "small" stature, looking me up and down, she said, with no hint of shyness, "Well, I wouldn't say 'small.' Short, maybe, but not small. You could stand to lose a few pounds." Aren't old people great?] Barring any freak mutations, The Pumpkin, who at 16 months is still barely 18 pounds and will probably be sitting rear-facing in the carseat till she's five at this rate, will probably be what Ji-in of Twice the Rice calls "a pocket Asian." "Pocket Asians," she writes, "are the wee, small, petite ones.... The wispy, tiny ones I could pick up between my thumb and forefinger and tuck into my pocket." Heh.

They are also the type who end up on cheerleading squads and everybody goes, gee, Mari/Liane/Sujin/Mai/Debbie, you're so tiny and light, why don't you be on top of the pyramid/be the one we throw really high into the air/be the one most likely to crash head-first into the boards/turf/ground?

And for our dear Pumpkin, to that, we say HELL NO! You ain't throwin' my baby up in the air and cracking her head open like an egg in the name of school spirit, just 'cause she's a short, cute little Asian girl. Soccer, great. Field hockey, whatever. Football even {we're liberals after all, let's challenge those gender roles). But over my dead body is she going to be not-quite-dressed in some little skirt thingy (did you notice the gratuitous crotch shots of the poor girl getting wheeled off the court?) and thrown all over the place "because she's so tiny and petite!"

So put those pom-poms away, aight? And Kristy? Kiddo? Really, if you're wearing a NECK BRACE, maybe, all the moving around, not such a good idea, 'kay? Just a thought.


Marcie said...

I'm glad someone else thought this was strange! She was like some robotic, stepford cheerleader. Weird!

sume said...

lol @ pocket Asian. All of my kids are small. They've inherited my short gene. I'm barely five foot tall though my daughter seems to have gotten her father's less short gene. At barely 13, her shoe size in one size bigger than mine and I can wear her clothes. Still, no cheerleading for her.

DAB said...

I totally agree with Marcie's comment. That was just weird. Everyone was making fun of it on the talk shows. And when I saw that she was Asian, I cringed.

smomo said...

Okay, this weird little girl went way over board by continuing to cheer. But hello, she had to "Bring it" and she did. So,I have to defend the pocket asian cheerleader, there aren't many sports we can do that gets any real attention besides cheerleading. Swimming? who watches that? Ice skating? If you live in Canada. Football? Get real, they won't let us on the field!

Anonymous said...

Ummmm. As a future doctor and former cheerleader, ITS A SPORT!!! really it is (just ask the pres, a former cl himself)... Yeah, I admit it, its kind of dumb but when you're a kid who wants to fit in.

Anonymous said...

Yes; it's probably not a good idea, but she probably was in shock. After suffering a concussion, a spinal fracture and a bruised lung -- this woman is tough! Not a wimpy Asian woman!