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Things I've Learned As A Cheer Dad

Things I've Learned As A Cheer Dad

It’s not often that you’ll find a cheer dad as vocal as Tom Kania. He recently shared this via his Facebook page after a negative post from a ‘friend’ regarding his decision to allow his daughters into the sport of cheer. Sound out on your thoughts below in the comments! Kudos to Tom for a very inspirational post.

By: Tom Kania

It has come to my attention that someone I know has decided to bash something they know very little about – CHEERLEADING! This is a subject I know a lot more than I ever expected to know. Having lived in a house with four girls that all have cheered at every level (peewee, school, competition, and college) two of them are still active and successful in the cheer world.

Things I've Learned as a Cheer Dad - The Kania FamilyPhoto courtesy Courtney Kania Young

My daughter, Amy, currently cheers at The University of Akron and is an ambassador to her college. She is expected as an ambassador to contribute her time to local charitable events (too many to list) and also coaches middle school cheerleading. She teaches them discipline, character training, teamwork, perseverance, and self-motivation amongst more dealing with adolescent girls. There’s a strict code of ethics which has to be followed or they will be disciplined. She also travels to competitions nationwide as a coach and also judges as an official at at competitions across the country.

Courtney, my oldest daughter, cheered from peewee, youth, high school, all star and before finishing with collegiate cheerleading at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She is a now coach at Ohio Extreme All Stars in Avon, Ohio and is also the competition coach for five of their local high school districts.

Things I've Learned as a Cheer Dad - The Kania Family
Photo courtesy Courtney Kania Young

On a near daily basis, she receives praise from multitudes of parents regarding the self discipline, ethics and character she instills in their children. The cheerleaders she coaches look up to her as a role model and not only do they respect her but admire and adore her. It makes me proud when I hear a parent tell her things like my child thinks you hang the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

My second daughter, Lauren, also cheered from peewee all the way through high school and also began coaching and has coached youth teams thru high school levels at two competitive gyms. Since Ohio schools dropped character education in the schools, Lauren took it to the field, court and mats. She instills confidence, promotes friendship, teamwork, perseverance, time management and many other attributes the children need when growing up.

If you knew anything about the sport, you would know that the participants are children of all race, all size and backgrounds- girls of all sizes coming together as a team. Even teams made up of special needs children that are assisted by the athletes from the other teams. When watching these teams perform, you can’t help but get a tear in your eye for what this has accomplished for all involved.

Things I've Learned as a Cheer Dad - The Kania Family
Photo courtesy Courtney Kania Young

To take them all and categorize them into a negative light when you know nothing about cheerleading is ignorant. It’s like saying all blondes are dumb or all Polish people are stupid or all French people stink. In fact: 97% of cheerleaders go on to college. 85% of them carry a B average or higher.

After a quick Google search to find out some of the “losers” in history that cheered… George Bush, Alicia Silverstone, Ann-Margret, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, Katie Couric, Sally Field. Steve Martin, a handful of senators, politicians and list of hundreds of “losers” that should not of been involved in this ridiculous sport.

Did you ever stop to think why they call them cheerleaders? Because many of them grow up to be leaders who can maintain dignity in the face of adversity and conflict.

Sure, the sport of cheerleading can be expensive, just like any other sport children get involved in. The life lessons that the children learn through the relationships and interactions with people they would never have met, had it not been for the sport and their activity in and that far outweighs the cost.

Of all the cheerleaders I know, my four favorite are Courtney, Lauren, Amy and Hallie – and through cheerleading they have become skilled athletes, well-rounded people, great students, dedicated family members, and good friends.

Things I've Learned as a Cheer Dad - The Kania Family
Photo courtesy Courtney Kania Young

The bottom line is that I’d rather have a child being physically active & interacting with other people, all while experiencing the world, making lifelong friends and comrades versus sitting at home on some electronic device like a computer or iPhone saying small minded things that they know nothing about or out roaming the streets.

I do not see children that will grow up to be damaged by the sport of cheerleading. Before you go on a rave about my children on a subject you know very little about – It is you who needs to realize what the possible ramifications can be – it’s that simple . When you put something on social media other people like my mom, dad and the whole world sees it too. If you don’t want what you say to be up for rebuttal then don’t put it on social media for everyone to read.

To the cheer world that I have come to know and love – please share with me and post what you do as an occupation or how cheerleading has affected your life and share this with a friend to help stop the stereotype.

Want to contribute? Let us know!



About The Author

Shane Womack

Shane Womack is the founder and owner of Cheer Media, the parent company of Cheer! magazine and Shane was an all star and high school cheerleader before becoming a collegiate cheerleader with Louisiana State University where he earned his degree in Business Marketing. Shane is also an elected member of the USASF National Advisory Board.


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