I don’t know when it became socially acceptable to steal your way to the top… Perhaps it came with the dawn of social media, and the easy access to everything, and anything is now just a quick search away. Somewhere along the line, it became acceptable. In school, if you write an essay and you steal another’s work, you won’t get credit for it–because, well, it isn’t yours. It’s called plagiarism. If you are on a football team, and you get caught using your opponent’s plays against them, it’s called cheating. Google ‘Spygate’–that time when the Patriots got caught cheating. There are repercussions to each and every instance when you take someone else’s hard work, and try to pass it off as your own.

In the cheerleading world, this seems to be an everyday occurrence. I can’t tell you just how many times I have seen a routine that I made, or one another team has made get worked into another organization’s routine a week later. Listen, this drives me absolutely insane. I know just how hard I worked to make my routine, the countless hours I put in, the constant changes to make it work better. The hours of sleep lost going over the routine, time and time again, in my head. My blood, sweat, and tears taken and used without my permission. I am sure that the people who do the same as me, who actually make up original routines wouldn’t mind if I spoke on their behalf. Knowing that our routine is tailored to our team, and the frustrations that we went through to make it what it is, just to have another take it and use it against us, is MADDENING.

Same goes for YouTube. I am guilty of looking up stunt ideas, but I take them as a mold, and I put my own spin on to them. Stunts... well, when you have seen one, you have seen them all (in a sense); it’s the creativity that makes them unique. There is nothing unique about going on YouTube or Pinterest, and being able to find that same exact stunt. I am not guilty of going onto YouTube, and searching up dances, jump sequences, or openings. Each section should be dedicated to showcase each shining star on your team, and that’s why routines online shouldn’t translate to other teams, anyway. I don’t always place first with the routines I make for MY team, but I lose with pride. I lose knowing that I gave it all, and just have to try harder next time. I lose with a good conscience, and with my moral compass pointing north.

I remember the movie Bring It On vividly: when the Toros got caught stealing from the Clovers, forcing them to get creative, and find other solutions. In the movie, no one liked the Toros, because they took the hard work of another team. Moral of the story–don’t be a Toro. Get creative, do your homework, and, if all else fails, HIRE a professional to make your routine for you–that is what they are there for!

I leave you with one last quote: “it is better to fail in originality, than succeed in imitation.” Good luck to all heading to competitions, and hope that all of our hard work pays off.

How do you feel about stealing in cheerleading? Share your opinion with us!