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Monty, Carrillo cheer squads unite

By CHRIS SMITH
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The us-vs.-them game is growing a little old, isn’t it?

We perceive each other on opposite sides so we snarl and withhold and deprive ourselves of any hope of finding common ground or together cultivating our humanity.

At the Montgomery-Maria Carrillo varsity boys’ basketball game Thursday night, the two schools’ cheerleading squads did something that should be an example for Democrats and Republicans and other deadlocked adversaries around the world.

Normally at halftime, one side’s cheerleaders perform for the crowd, then the other. “It’s usually a negative, competitive thing,” said Tina Angel, Monty’s cheerleading/dance team coach.

The standing-room crowd at Thursday’s game was surprised when about 45 Carrillo and Monty cheerleaders took to the floor at the same time and performed — perfectly — a routine they’d secretly practiced together.

The girls’ creative display of unity and leadership was a big hit.

It was the idea of coach and math teacher Angel, who’d been cheerleader at both Santa Rosa High and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She and assistant cheerleading coach Petina Huffman thought to move beyond adversarial, often disrespectful competitiveness, and Carrillo coach Gay Seitz liked the idea.

If you’d like to see more of that, how about making some noise?