Cheers to You

I've been obsessed with cheerleading competitions since fourth grade. After two sessions with a coach who gave me cheer and my parents a run for their money, I stood on one very shaky leg and tried out for the squad. Despite the French braid crafted from my permed bi-level (read "mullet") and my fabulously coordinated outfit, I lost. I bit it in a big way. My jumps sucked, my spirit was squelched and my Keds screeched on the floor as I landed in a barely upright position. This competition, however, has everything I wasn't: high school students with amazing gymnastic talents, better hair and cheers that don't involve "Pork chop, pork chop, greasy, greasy/We will beat you easy, easy/Hey now, hey now!" The National Cheerleading Association brings the nationals to Big D's Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., Sunday through Tuesday. The best teams will throw down for the coveted spirit stick and the winning title. Competition categories and times vary each day. Call 214-939-2700. --Merritt Martin

Crick What?

We tried to figure out cricket. Since receiving an invite to Cricket Nite 2003, we've dug through dozens of explanations on the Internet, but we're still clueless about the sport. Cricket looks loosely comparable to baseball (if you disregard the wickets, stumps and woolen pullovers), but we're not sure if it's American ignorance or if the rules, terms and weeklong games are really that baffling. Either way, we must be terrible Texans, because the International Cricket Council has deemed the North Texas Cricket Association the "best development program in the Americas." Say what? Celebrate (or more likely, learn about) the sport with the Cricket Nite banquet and awards show at FunAsia Center, 1210 E. Belt Line Road, on Sunday at 6 p.m. Entry is free. Go to --Sam Machkovech

Match Game
Welcome to pin state

Long before I fell in love with professional wrestling for all the wrong reasons (chair shots to the head and bra-and-panty matches, to name but a few of the guilty pleasures), I was an amateur wrestler in Pennsylvania. I wasn't bad, either. And by that I mean I didn't lose every match, just most of them. Ah, but life is about lessons, friend, and I'm here to share one thing I learned along the way--amateur wrestling is the real deal. That is, it's a serious demand on the athlete. It requires stamina, strength and, above all, real balls. I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't already. And what better venue than the 19th Annual Cotton Bowl Classic Holiday Wrestling Open Invitational? The tournament will be held December 27 and December 28 at the Dallas Convention Center and will pit amateur wrestlers against each other in 15 weight classes and eight age divisions. Admission is $15 for the entire tournament, and children 12 and under get in free. --John Gonzalez

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