The birth of organized cheerleading took place on Nov. 2, 1898, when University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell led the crowd in a cheer of, "Rah, Rah, Rah! Sku-u-mar, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-so-tah!" [source: The Kennedy Center]. Then, pre-World War II, male "yell captains" appeared at sporting events.
These cheerleaders proved sufficient to whip up excitement in the stands. But have you ever seen cheerleaders from a seat high in the bleachers? It's not nearly as immediate an experience as seeing the same cheerleaders shot close-up from either a high or a low angle.
The modern conception of cheerleaders is a product of television.