We sometimes tend to think of different sports (yes, cheerleading is considered a sport) as being strictly American. When we discover that a certain sport has “crossed the waters”, or has already existed in another country, we may find ourselves having to rethink things.
Such is the case with cheerleading, especially competition cheerleading. Competition cheer squads exist in many countries in Europe, and are now beginning to crop up in some Asian countries. One such place is Thailand, where a competition cheer squad known as SWAN made their first appearance at the 2 nd Cheerleading Asia International Open Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. This was in 2008, and this year they will appear in Bremen, Germany in November.
While Thai cheer squads such as the SWAN team enjoy the opportunity to compete, their main goal is to continue to improve their techniques. For this reason, they are using their victories and other chances they are given to attend as many international meets as possible, thus gaining more experience in competing in, and perhaps winning, such a competition.
Incidents such as this remind us that not all international relations occur in the diplomatic and political world. Like music, sports can be considered a “universal language”. What we call football may be played differently in another part of the world and may be called soccer, or another sport such as rugby may generate as much enthusiasm and friendly rivalry as any college game in America ever dared to.
More and more, however, when you look on the sidelines at a game or visit a sports arena or other venue, you are likely to see something that is going to be very similar, if not almost completely the same, and that is cheerleading. Whether cheering their team on to victory or competing for that 1 st place trophy, cheerleaders are still cheerleaders, no matter what language they speak.