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Tantrums aren't just for kids anymore

Saturday, February 2, 2013

There was a story on "Good Morning America" the other day about a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who felt bad because she wasn't chosen to cheer at the Super Bowl.

Courtney Lenz claims, in the USA Today article dedicated to her complaints, that she was sidelined because she had gained 1.4 pounds over the course of the season. She weighed 124 pounds, and the Ravens organization wanted her to get down to 120.

The GMA story detailed that only 32 cheerleaders out of the 60-member roster were chosen to cheer at the big game.

I know that we're in a very visible and vocal moment in our culture, but there are a few issues I have with Ms. Lenz and her situation.

I understand that gaining less than two pounds over the course of a season is a crazy reason to bench someone, but if your coaches want you to be at 120 and you weigh 124, there is a four-pound deficient. One of them is lying, or mathematically challenged.

The GMA story showed several of Lenz's "before" pictures - from the calendars she participated in several years ago - and even from the distance I could detect more than a two-pound change, more than even a four-pound change. The earlier pictures show her slinking across a piece of driftwood in a bikini. The later pictures show her barely squeezed into her cheer uniform.

But here are the bigger issues. First, when you are a professional athlete (and I do consider cheerleading a sport - those girls put the work in), you need to stay conditioned for the work your sport requires. Even a small amount of weight can affect your performance and, consequently, your job. These are not casual joggers or weekend hiking enthusiasts - these are individuals chosen because of their athletic ability.

Second, and perhaps the most important, complaining to the entire world that you didn't get picked doesn't benefit anyone. To the Baltimore Ravens, it degrades their integrity as an organization. Other companies have fired employees for badmouthing them over social networks. To young children looking at professional athletes with open-eyed awe, a story like this sets the example that whining is the way to get what you want. Sometimes, even when hard work is applied, things don't always turn out the way you want. That's life; better luck next time.

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Kate Padilla