On any given Saturday in the fall, a special element is added to the University of Southern California football sidelines.
It is not a white horse traveling through the end zone or a man in Trojan battle gear raising a sword. It is not a traditional cardinal and golf uniform worn by the football players or a charismatic head coach who has the team on one of the greatest runs in college football history.
The Song Girls at a USC pep rally.
At USC, the Song Girls do as much dancing as cheerleading.
Despite being great dancers, the Song Girls are not always in motion.
It is the Song Girls.
USC's version of the cheerleader, the Song Girls are a college sports phenomena, a group of gals who take the activity to a whole new level. Dressed in second-to-none white sweaters with block USC lettering and pleated skirts, they do far more than just wave pom-pomps and jump up and down when their team scores a touchdown. They don't due stunts.
How about THIS – the USC Song Girls on Waikiki Beach!
When the Trojans play at Hawaii, the Song Girls take a break on Waikiki Beach.
What they do is cheer and dance, performing well choreographed routines to the spirited tunes blasted out by the Spirit of Troy marching band. For three hours, they are in perpetual motion. Just try and take their photo – they are constantly in motion, moving front to back, side to side and spinning around, those pleated skirts twirling like an umbrella in the wind.
Then, in one of college football's great emerging traditions, they are joined by the band on the field where they dance to traditional Troy tunes in front of the student section for at least a half hour after the end of games.
With the band playing, the Song Girls make dancing (a) routine.
With the band providing the music, the Song Girls make dancing (a) routine.
As school celebrities, the Song Girls are accommodating to pose for pictures.
When the Song Girls are not on the move, they are either standing at attention or holding up the "V for Victory" sign with two fingers, one arm extended and knees bending in rhythm.
Everything they do is precise and performed the exact same way game after game, year after year. The Song Girls are more disciplined than half the football teams in the NCAA. And as anyone who who has been fortunate enough to meet them will verify, they are cordial, polite and friendly.
The Song Girls also entertain at the school pep rallies.
The Song Girls line up with the band after all home games.
As school celebrities, the Song Girls always pose for pics. Photo: Jack Fleming
The Song Girls do lead cheers, especially against UCLA.
The traditional "V for Victory" salute is a common pose for the Song Girls.
The Song Girls are technically not cheerleaders.
Before home games, the Song Girls lead the band through campus.
Occassionally the Song Girls wear a non-traditional uniform.
Even their name is unique. They are called Song Girls because a big SC donor in the 50s included a stipulation that the school would never have cheerleaders (he must have had a very jealous wife). It took about a decade but in a bit of PR genius, USC sidestepped the issue by calling them Song Girls. The people who do the actual cheering are males, known as Yell Leaders.
While the Song Girls are certainly at the head of their class, they are hardly the only cheerleaders worthy of acclaim. One need not even leave the Pac-10 to see the sideline sensations at Arizona and Arizona State. In the Deep South, Alabama's sweet-talking cheerleaders bow in respect in the end zone when the Crimson Tide scores a touchdown. UT girls are renowned for having the best legs due to the fact they must climb up a huge hill to Ayres Hall. Florida girls are, well, Florida girls.
Yet for putting a song in the fans' hearts, the Song Girls are PubClub.com's national champions.
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