We'Ve Got Spirit : The Life And Times Of America'S Greatest Cheerleading Team
- Publish Date: 1999-02-17
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: James T. Mcelroy
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Let's Hear It for the Cheerleaders, The New York Times recently proclaimed, and in We've Got Spirit, James T. McElroy answers the call, revealing the thrilling drama of ambition, heartbreak, and triumph that is a year in the life of America's greatest cheerleading team. Today's competitive cheerleading is intense, athletic, and even dangerous -- a sport in its own right that combines the acrobatic grace of gymnastics, the energized dance of ice skating, and the all-American good looks of a beauty pageant. Cheerleading is hotter than ever, reports The Wall Street Journal on what is far and away the most popular girls' sport in America, with over three-and-a-half million participants. Thousands of high school teams across the nation practice year-round with hopes of becoming national champions, but only Kentucky's Greenup County Musketeers have won eight titles and are perennial contenders to take the top honors. Team members in the green and gold are adored throughout the country for being pretty, polite, sweet, and sexy -- but what Greenup's rivals strive to emulate is the fierce athleticism and competitive spirit that make Greenup the team to beat. We've Got Spirit opens with the 1997 National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida, where Greenup County brilliantly reclaims its title. The crowd roars as all nineteen girls simultaneously perform their trademark standing back tuck, and the team is crowned champion once again. Coach Candy Berry is the amazing motivator behind the Greenup cheerleading dynasty, a female incarnation of Vince Lombardi who can mold almost any group of girls into champions. With veteran team leader Shawnda Bates graduated and cheering for the University of Louisville, Berry has high hopes for the young talent on the 1998 squad. Linda Goble has top-notch gymnastics skills and valuable competition experience, but distractions mount when she gets caught up in a bitter custody battle. Vivacious and spirited Rachel Brown has dreamed of cheering for Greenup County since preschool, but confidence problems keep her a heartbeat away from achieving the perfection she strives for. Self-taught tumbler Rachel Wills seems like a natural to follow in Shawnda's footsteps, but as the 1998 nationals approach, Greenup County's remarkable reign at the top is threatened by obstacles even the most gifted leader never could have anticipated -- season-ending injuries, infighting, an unplanned pregnancy, and even a show-stopping blizzard. Revealing the backstage conflicts competitive cheerleaders face, and the ambition that drives these sports heroes with ponytails, McElroy tells stories of astonishing achievement and wasted talent, teamwork and courage, and what it means to be an