Follow the Leaders
GEORGE W. BUSH. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Franklin D. Roosevelt. What do all these men have in common, aside from the obvious?
Need another clue? These are not the only famous faces to have this shared pastime on their resume. To name but a few, Katie Couric, Madonna and Meryl Streep also have their roots in similar soil.
Giving up already? These well-known folks, all at the apex of their respective industries, got their start as the original No. 1 fans—cheerleaders.
The connection is no coincidence. Regardless of whether it’s yelling out cheers, dominating the box office, topping the music charts or even governing the free world, the word “leader” is right in the name. Is it any wonder they went from the sidelines to the spotlight?
JOIN THE FAN CLUB
Cheerleading and dance teams are quickly becoming a popular and viable sector for promotional products. “The cheer market encompasses such a wide range of ages and events from weekend recreation sports to high-level organized sports,” noted Chad Trollinger, director of marketing for Augusta, Georgia-based Augusta Sportswear. And though cheerleading tradtionally prompts thoughts of girls in skirts jumping around to support the “real athletes,” the activity has undergone vast changes over the years. Today’s cheerleaders and dance-team members attend training camps, compete on the national level and practice year-round, in addition to their two-season spirit duties. This leaves the playing field wide open for distributors looking to outfit squad members in a variety of promotional wearables.
“We look at cheer as being what the girls … that are actually on the cheer squad [are wearing] with the pom-poms and cheering on the sidelines or in competitions,” Trollinger explained. These styles exist to enhance the uniform and can include warm-ups, shorts, headbands and sweatshirts. The offerings have become so diverse, in fact, suppliers such as Boxercraft have created catalogs to exclusively house their cheer collections.