SLCS, the Second Life Cheerleading Squad, was founded by Christi Charron in October 2007. My BCFF ( Best Cheer Friend Forever) Abbie Bulloch and I were trainees in February 2011. I blogged about our 2011 experiences over on iRez.uk.
As Taylor Temper, who’s clever with computers, notes, I was then absent for 4,000 days. Shortly after I left, Abbie helped found SLCS’ teen unit The Comets. She eventually had a falling out with the squad and left and still doesn’t like to talk about it.
I was away from SL for a long time. But never left the SLCS SL group. If I would login I’d see a zillion notices from this still surviving an always thriving group of people. On those rare login days I would think about going back to the stadium. But as the thousands of days piled up, it all just seemed more and more embarrassing. On Thursday, 6 January 2022, Joni Temple Shadow finally convinced me to come to a practice. I was overwhelmed by how nice all the strangers and the familiar faces were. 2022 has been a great year with the squad.
What is SLCS? I’m pretty sure I don’t know! I’ve spent all of 2022 trying to understand that. It’s a large, loving, diverse group of people. Many interests. Many hobbies. Many worldviews. At core we are cheerleaders! SLCS performs constantly at charitable and other events around the grid. We often back singers in their vocal performances at many different Second Life venues. It sometimes feels to me like we are a Conservative Christian organization. And almost everyone who isn’t me is a member of the Stark family.
If you take Swoozy Stark’s SLCS History class you’ll learn how much Christi Charron, “CC”, struggled in the early years. She had to work hard to come up with a few L$, and a few cheerleaders. She eventually created the Cheermaster HUD, which is the backbone of SLCS performances. By the time I was a trainee in 2011 things were already soaring! While a lot of the people I met in 2011 aren’t part of SLCS in 2022, it’s amazing how many are!
During my long hiatus, the cheerleader who trained Abbie and I, Srooc Skytower, passed away. Researching on Facebook and elsewhere (sidenote: Facebook hates avatars and exterminates us when it can. SL avatars and groups using Facebook for communications and promotion is some kind of self-loathing insanity. Please use anything other than Facebook!)
I learned how devastated everyone had been at Srooc’s passing. They named the stadium after her. I can’t recall the name of the stadium in 2011! For as long as I’ve been around it’s been in the Cheertopia region of Second Life. And today it is The Srooc Skytower Memorial Stadium at the Cheertopia region. We still have practice every Thursday at 6 PM SLT (PST/PDT). Sometimes practice is at the 50 yard line of Skytower Stadium. Other weeks it is at a wide range of venues across the Second Life grid. We also have a variety of performances on different days and at many different venues around Second Life.
I love the name of our SL region: Cheertopia! Partly because it’s just such a fun, engaging, and playful name! And partly because, as a concatenation of Cheer and Utopia, the name of the region beautifully summarizes what SLCS is all about. I may not know what SLCS is! But a lot of our mission is stated right in the name of the region. It is a Cheerleading Utopia. It is the imperfect, but best, cheerleading haven we mere mortal avatars can make.
When a panel votes on a trainee, we are making a choice about one specific trainee. It might be less obvious, but with each trainee who Panels, we are also defining who we are. Panels are a test of what SLCS is. Of who we aspire to be.
After Thursday night SLCS practice Amber Hazel Woods (BongzieHaze) and I headed over to a club she hosts at to listen to her favorite Blues DJ. And do some dancing in the street in Maddy’s SLCS 15th Anniversary uniforms.
Cheerleaders share the stories behind how they chose their avatar names. From frustration with Lucky Chairs to refugees from another world, we’ve taken some interesting journeys to find our names and to become a part of SLCS.
What if we modified the SLCS Rank Controller and levels of Cheerleader away from a military model of Lieutenants and Captains to a more participation, achievement, and community-based model of Pom Pom colors?