When I posted some photos of cheerleaders after the homecoming football game at Floyd last week, some commenters on Facebook said it “was about time” I recognized the cheerleaders at Floyd County High School.
Ouch! I thought I have been covering the young ladies (and the boys) who help whip up enthusiasm at high school football and basketball games each year.
When The Floyd Press asked me to shoot a football game in the fall of 2004, I included shots of the cheerleaders in the photos turned in for publication. In each and every football and basketball game covered for the 15 years that followed, I have included at least two or three images of each game.
Some get into the paper. Some do not. The editor selects the photos from the images I submit.
The photo above of the young JV cheerleader sitting on the floor of a game was shot in 2008 and her mother called me for a copy of the photo. Mothers of other cheerleaders have done the same.
I started photography of high school athletics more than 55 years ago as the student photographer for FCHS in the early 1960s.
The photos included cheerleaders. Some of them are still friends.
During my time at The Roanoke Times from 1965-69, I covered a cheerleading camp and came away from the shoot of many aspiring cheerleaders in training.
Later, as a reporter and photographer for The Telegraph in Alton, IL (across the Mississippi River in St. Louis), I covered professional football matches involving the St. Louis Cardinals before the team left the St. Louis area and moved to Phoenix.
The cheerleaders for the Cardinals were members of a University of Missouri dance and cheer squad.
I’ve also photographed state and national cheerleading competitions for newspapers and magazines over the years.
Shooting the FCHS cheerleading squads over the last 15 years has given me a new appreciation of the athletic ability of the ladies and their practice and determination. I’ve shot them at many of the games in Floyd and also on the road and at State Championship games in Richmond.
I’m sorry that some feel I have ignored the cheerleaders in photography shot for the Press or here on Blue Ridge Muse. That was never my intention and I will try to make sure that more are included in future coverages.