The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament started Thursday! There is nothing like March Madness which includes the student fans, the band, and of course, the cheerleaders! The following is my favorite cheerleading story ever, complete with video. It is from March 9, 2006.
Did you see the video? A Southern Illinois University cheerleader was seriously injured in a fall from a top of a pyramid during the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament in St. Louis. Eighteen year old Kristi Yamaoka landed on her head from a height of fifteen feet, fracturing a vertebra in her neck, bruising a lung, and suffering a mild concussion. The arena went silent as the sophomore from Springfield, Illinois lay motionless, strapped to a gurney. But an amazing thing happened as the paramedics began wheeling Kristi off the floor to rush her to the hospital. The band started the SIU fight song and the injured Saluki cheerleader, whose arms were not restrained, began the clapping and arm motions along with her teammates. The crowd went nuts at the sight of this young lady exhibiting school spirit in an unconventional manner. Kristi, already making the talk show rounds, is expected to make a complete recovery and hopes to be ready for the April tryouts for next year's squad. Can you imagine the outcry if she doesn't make it? I, for one, will cancel my season tickets to all SIU sporting events! We can debate the wisdom of her doing a cheer with a broken neck but in her quotes, she said it was instinct and she was still part of the squad. The squad was cheering so she cheered. No one could ever doubt the loyalty of Kristi Yamaoka.
How do we handle adversity? Do we shut down or run away? Or do we do what we have been trained to do? I never remember my mom being sick as a kid. Dad did all right around the house but it would have been tough with Mom on the sidelines. Moms make the world run. I believe in many ways women are tougher than men and girls can handle more pain than boys. I admire those that keep going. One of our freshmen at Westbury Christian endured chemotherapy last year. She missed some days but kept up her academics. The Bible is replete with examples of perseverance. Elizabeth and Hannah kept praying for children, enduring the shame of being barren in a society where childlessness was pitied. Paul wrote epistles from prison. Stephen forgave his killers while they stoned him. After grief, disappointment, and misunderstanding at the death of their Savior and friend, the apostles turned the world upside down with news of the risen messiah. Like Kristi Yamaoka, they refused to let adversity detour their duty and sacred obligation. Maybe we all have one of those moments that define us. Kristi had hers on a national stage with cameras rolling. Bible characters had their moments recorded in spiritual history. Our moments might be known only to ourselves and those close to us. The anonymity of our lives does not diminish their relevance. Kristi Yamaoka was unknown one day, a celebrity the next. It probably won't happen to us but you can't tell. Television turns unknowns into media darlings. Sometimes, the new found stars are worth a second look and can teach us about ourselves and the human spirit. Solomon told us in Proverbs 16:18 that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." In our world, sometimes fame comes after a fall!
Applicable quote of the day:
"The greater the loyalty of the group toward the group, the greater is the motivation of the group to achieve the goals of the group and the greater probability the group will achieve its goals."
Applicable quote of the day, # 2:
"I think it's kind of crazy because I don't know how many times I've hit that stunt perfectly and no one cares until you hit the ground."
Kristi Yamaoka (Southern Illinois University cheerleader)
To watch the video, click or copy/paste the link below:
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