Daily Buzz: HS cheerleader with Down syndrome makes squad, inspires

Rachel Massingale (center) has made an impression on those in the Centennial High School community.  

The cheerleader’s place in the pop cultural zeitgeist is not an entirely flattering position. They often are depicted as pretty, popular, enthusiastic and athletic, sure, but with almost equal frequency are shown as petty, political and noninclusive.

In any case, being picked (or not picked) for the cheerleading squad means a great deal to a great many American high school girls, and counted among them is Rachel Massingale of Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho.

"She loves to perform in front of people,” Massingale’s mother, Denise, told KTVB-TV in Boise.

And in a single act of mass obliteration of negative cheerleading stereotypes, Rachel Massingale, who has Down syndrome, made the cheering squad at Centennial High.

"I think I’m part of the team,” she told KTVB. “And I’m really happy because I am.”

The Centennial cheerleading squad has 52 cheers to memorize and perform, and thanks to some help from an individual cheer coach, Melissa Casey, Rachel has them all down.

”I was a little bit nervous," Casey said. "But boy she is a trooper and has learned them all. She has even added her own little spirit to them."

If the objective of cheerleading is to encourage and inspire, Rachel Massingale might be one of the best there is.

"I am very inspired by Rachel, I think she’s taught us all a lot" fellow cheerleader Mika Muta said. "She always gives 100 percent."

And now, Tuesday’s links:

• Here’s a guy who thinks the NFL rigged the NFC championship game and has a video to “prove” it.

• Jameis Winston, Baseball America preseason third team All-American.

• DeMarcus Cousins called Mike Dunleavy Jr. "a clown."

• Tara Lipinski did a "Big Lebowski"-inspired ice skating routine.

• Former NFL lineman Alan Faneca has lost 100 pounds.

• Golden Tate bought a $100,000 bottle of champagne after the Super Bowl.

• Oklahoma City is trolling Seattle.

• Hotel accommodations in Sochi leave a lot to be desired.

• Joakim Noah’s ejection last night was quite a show.