1. A performer who makes a crowd cheer: a member of a group of uniformed performers who encourage the crowd to support a team at sports. Cheerleaders direct organized chants and songs, and often perform acrobatic routines.
2. Uncritical enthusiast: an uncritically enthusiastic.
This morning I ran the Army Half-Marathon/Sheares Bridge Run, a fixture event in my annual calendar (and that of 30,000 participants). Supporting from the flanks of the run route were numerous cheerleaders. These cheerleaders took the form of rock-bands, traditional and contemporary percussionists, soldiers, cheerleaders, bell-ringers trio, and even a belly-dancing quartet. The last group of supporters met me about two kilometers from the finishing-point and nearly took whatever breath I had left. Great eye-candy for my darn legs-like-lead!
Support is a form of commitment. Underlying it are several core values. You can factor in consideration, care, loyalty, encouragement, and faith.
I am sure the 30,000 participants who completed the race were thankful for these pleasant distractions. Cheerleaders can help make the difference between start, stop or continue. Words and energy infect us by allowing us to put our ‘foot on the gas’. Go! Go! Go!
Effective cheerleaders know what to say that is positive, sanguine and encouraging. Avoid phrases like ‘Don’t give up!’ or ‘Don’t slow down’ as they plant failure-based outcomes. Tell people what to do. Be clear. Be focused. Be there.
Come on - You can do it. You will.