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Cheerleading gave this team valuable lesson

Re: Pompoms now pack more of a punch, Feb. 19 Times.

I'm sure you are thinking this letter is in response to the Feb. 19 column Rah Rah Rah! Sis Boom Bah! Cheerleading is a sport? Ha! by David Murphy. We all know it is a sport, therefore I won't bother taking up the newspaper's valuable space.

The real purpose of this letter is to respond to the article authored by Vince Thomas about the Springstead High School varsity cheerleading program. I would like to thank Mr. Thomas for the front page article and photographer Keri Wiginton for the great pictures.

During my time as the varsity cheerleading coach at Springstead I have seen an amazing group of young girls evolve into phenomenal athletic young women. I feel it is important to mention the program did not lack talent; it simply lacked structure and discipline. These athletes had the map to reach their goals; I was simply the vehicle to get them there.

I remember our first practice; I told them a quote I once heard, "If you can dream it, you can live it." With that end in mind we started our journey to achieve a goal that to some would be impossible. They set the standard in the county by attending 5 a.m. practices while maintaining over a 3.0 grade point average in honors and advance placement classes, and some in college dual enrollment.

Their first priority became supporting the athletic teams at Springstead, while committing to several community service projects. Their goal to qualify for nationals came in a distant third. As stated in the article, after three years of hard work and dedication, they qualified for the most prestigious cheerleading competition in the nation, the only competition aired on ESPN and backed by several major companies.

Although the outcome was not what was expected by most, I feel compelled to thank my team members for all the countless hours of early-morning practices, along with the class they have displayed toward other teams they have defeated in the past year. I am truly inspired by their will to overcome adversity when many would have quit and not attended the competition at all.

With the continued support of principal Susan Duval and athletic director Bob Levijia, the dream for these dedicated individuals became a reality. I must also mention that without the added commitment of the boys and the JV cheerleaders who were moved up for competition, it would have not been possible.

When thinking in the context of the term "ghetto," some of the things we imply are despair, hopelessness, desolation and lack of focus. However, like so many athletes before and so many who will come after, we did not let these stereotypes bind us. Today that "ghetto team" is really a team of champions. This is a group of athletes who set a goal and worked hard to achieve it.

Contrary to the cliche, winning most definitely is not everything. Sometimes, chasing your dreams and realizing your potential are more than a trophy could ever provide.

Cecilia Page,

varsity cheerleading coach,

Spring High School

Let's sign on to effort to get

leaders to reduce county taxes

Bravo and hats off to the thousands of people who have already signed the petition to reduce county taxes. How many thousands have yet to sign it?

It's amazing that we are told the county cannot afford to drastically cut taxes or reduce spending. The only way to instigate tax reform is to deprive the government of additional money.

Have any of our county commissioners asked if we can afford higher taxes? It's time to roll back the tax rate (and property values, for that matter) and give us no new taxes, including the infamous municipal service benefit unit (MSBU), a disguise that enables the county to increase taxes even more without exceeding the millage cap.

Refuse to vote for anyone, no matter the party, who will not drastically roll back the millage on our property taxes. Bottom line is we have a deficit not because citizens are taxed too little, but because government spends too much.

G. Sterling, Brooksville

Keeping a warden should fix

Werder's underwear problem

Re: County's jail warden replaced, Feb. 15 Times.

Congressional candidate David Werder said to the county commissioners that Corrections Corporation of America officials are "changing wardens about as often as I change my underwear."

Hmmm. Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone.

John Albert, Spring Hill

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