Cover image for We've got spirit : the life and times of America's greatest cheerleading team
We've got spirit : the life and times of America's greatest cheerleading team
McElroy, James T., 1973-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, [1999]

Physical Description:
336 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB3635 .M334 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"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 countryfor being pretty, polite, sweet, and sexy -- but what Greenup's rivals strive to emulate is the fierce athleticism and competitive spirit that m

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Greenup County is a sparsely populated eastern Kentucky honeycomb of rural roads where the number of churches rivals that of fast-food restaurants. The county's name is the stuff of myth to teenage girls across the country for one reason‘the Greenup County High School cheerleaders. McElroy starts with the performance that earned the team its seventh United Cheerleading Association national championship, a harrowing three-minute blitz of flips and vaults before the cameras of ESPN and beneath the shadow of Disney World in Orlando, Fla. He then follows the team and its innovative coach on their annual quest to retain both the title and the form that has brought them unrivaled acclaim for nearly two decades. These are not the flirty sideline stereotypes urging the boys on to victory. These girls are more apt to break bones than hearts. They face criticism when a major cheering competition takes them away from a district football championship. Being a Greenup cheerleader is the most important accomplishment in many of these girls' lives, and McElroy chronicles their fights with everything from poverty to pregnancy and old-fashioned jealousy. Though such devotion to purpose is bound to draw the book comparisons with H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, a critical look at high school football in post-boom Texas, McElroy portrays cheering at Greenup as a largely positive experience that allows the girls to define themselves outside of potentially limited social roles, even if they have to bend over backwards to do so. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Have you ever considered the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to become a cheerleader? Here is the story of one of America's "greatest" cheerleading teams, the Musketeers of Greenup County High School in Kentucky. McElroy discovered this remarkable group of athletes as a reporter for the Charlotte Leader. The Musketeers have won a total of eight national championships and are perennial contenders to take top honors. McElroy delivers a personal account of teamwork, leadership, and courage. Through a combination of gymnastics and dance, tempered by a keen sense of balance and above all physical as well as mental strength, the Greenup cheerleaders show what it takes to be number one. So the next time you're engrossed in the game, take a moment to enjoy the precision of the cheerleaders. Buy where demand warrants.‘Larry Robert Little, Penticton P.L., BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Nationals 'Ninety-Seven
1. Cheer to Winp. 11
2. She's a Cheerleader at Greenup!p. 25
3. Perfectionp. 39
4. To Leave Greenup Countyp. 53
5. An Appendectomy, a Car Wreck, a Back Tuckp. 79
6. Olive Oylp. 98
7. Survivalp. 112
Kings Island
8. Equal Rights and All That Crapp. 125
9. What's Good for the Boys Isn't Always Good for the Girlsp. 155
10. Different, but Similarp. 174
11. Fight Greenup Fightp. 190
12. Faith on Threep. 215
13. Queen Candidatep. 233
14. Candy Says, Candy Saysp. 256
Nationals 'Ninety-Eight
15. Because ... I Don't Know Whyp. 287
16. Psychological Warfarep. 297
17. The Best Team in the Landp. 330
Epiloguep. 358
Acknowledgmentsp. 364
Photo Listingp. 366