Friday, September 25, 2009

New game show--Are you smarter than a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader?

I have to confess that lately I've been watching a lot of questionable, if not utterly stupid TV, both game shows and so-called "reality TV". I haven't necessarily watched the entire show but it was more than just a two second stopover to see if what was on was really worth my time. Anyway, here is a short list of some of the shows I have given more than 5 minutes of my attention to: Tool Academy 2, Project: Runway, Are you smarter than a 5th grader?, Hell's Kitchen, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team and a few others. All of them are ridiculous and yet I am drawn to them.

However, let me speak about the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders show. These girls go through a very rough physical and mental regimen to qualify to be part of the organization still billed, though wrongly as "America's Team." When was the last time the Dallas Cowboys even got to the Superbowl? But, I digress. Nonetheless, what these girls go through is excruciating. I've never really thought much of cheerleading over the years, especially about the claims from its proponents that it is, in fact, a sport. But seeing this, I've changed my mind. I still don't call it a sport (it is a more legitimate claim to call this a sport as opposed to the "sport" which involves sitting on your ass driving a car like NASCAR), but it is physically intense. You have to be really in shape to do this and you have to be have some mental acumen to perform the tasks that these girls are asked to do. It's no different than football players being required to memorize their playbooks.

These Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders though are required to be good role models for the organization. They are expected to know a lot about the Dallas Cowboys organization itself, about Texas history and even about world events. In fact, they have to take a test on those very subjects, a written test. Why? Because the Dallas Cowboys organization wants to make sure that these girls defy the stereotype of the ditzy cheerleader especially when they are interviewed. Now I grant that no one is going to ask these cheerleaders for foreign policy advice (not that I believe they are incapable of giving their opinions), but even without that specific knowledge, these girls are expected to be informed and articulate.

Now, why don't we ask the players in the Dallas Cowboys or in the NFL or in all of sports to take written tests like this? If cheereleaders have a reputation as being ditzy fools then so do players. How many times have I heard just absolutely ridiculous rantings from players on issues such as foreign policy, race relations or who have no idea who the vice-president of the United States is, etc.? Too many times to count. Rick Reilly of ESPN asks why the players of the Dallas Cowboys should be exempt from these same questions. Where the cheerleaders are expected to be proficient, the players can get away with ignorance. Twelve players were given the test. Here are some of the results (paraphrased from the article).

Q: Name the Six Flags of Texas.

Answer: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America and U.S.A.

A very tough question. Only backup QB Jon Kitna nailed it. The other 11 thought it referred to an amusement park.

Q: Name the two ex-Cowboys quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Answer: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.

G Travis Bright answered Troy Aikman but forgot Roger Staubach, and S Pat Watkins, who answered, "Joe Namath and Troy Aikman." Yep, who can forget ol' Beltway Joe?

Q: Name a country that borders Iraq.

Answer: Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

Ten of 12 got it right.

Q: Who is the governor of Texas?

Answer: Rick Perry.

This one was hopeless. Only TE Jason Witten and DE Marcus Spears got it right: Rick Perry.

There were other questions too related to nutrition, world events and, of course, Dallas Cowboys trivia. Now, how representative of the answers by the Dallas Cowboy athletes be for the sporting world as a whole? Who knows? But, if the Dallas Cowboys has such high standards for those who cheer them on, why shouldn't they expect the same from their players, one of whom gets more media time than all the cheerleaders put together? So, my suggestion for a new game show: Are you smarter than a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader? Mandatory participation for all Dallas Cowboys players. Maybe coaches, too.

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