Betty Lou Cummings: Still Cheering

Generations of Westporters know Betty Lou Cummings as Westport’s #1 cheerleader.

Whether serving as 2nd selectman or leading projects like the Riverwalk or library’s River of Names, Betty Lou is a big civic booster.

Some Westporters know that Betty Lou’s enthusiasm comes naturally:  She was a cheerleader at Michigan State.

What many don’t know is that she was 1 of the first female cheerleaders there — or in the entire Big 10.

Recently, Betty Lou returned to her native state.  The occasion was bittersweet — she and her husband Tom said goodbye to his mother, who died recently at 103 — but she also stopped by her alma mater’s alumni association.

When they heard her history, they taped her — for their archives, and YouTube.

In 1954, Betty Lou says, 200 students tried out for the cheerleading squad.  Only 6 were chosen.  Four — like her — were blonde.

“We were famous all over Michigan,” she says.  Nearly all cheerleaders at the time were male.

In the video, she talks about her work with Westport’s Senior Center.  Every Super Bowl Sunday, she leads cheers at the annual party — with her green and white Spartans pompoms.

She also says that instead of accompanying the squad to the Rose Bowl, she got married.  Her father objected:  She could get married any time — but there was only one Rose Bowl.

At the end of the video, Betty Lou gives a rousing Michigan State cheer.

She hasn’t lost a beat.

14 responses to “Betty Lou Cummings: Still Cheering

  1. Go Spartans. And keep going Betty Lou. You have my vote for best cheerleader ever.

  2. Betty Lou Cummings

    Thank you so much Dan with my story of the “down memory lane” cheering at Michigan State University…yes, I do love to cheer…especially for you AND Westport too! Hugs, Betty Lou Cummings

  3. John Huminski

    What a refreshing article

  4. Linda Gramatky Smith

    A lovely YouTube story with my favorite Betty Lou! One can see what a vibrant cheerleader she was at MSU. She didn’t mention all the Westport activities (Saugatuck School, I believe) and the River Walk and the tiles that provided so much money for our library’s capital campaign and 100 more that she has headed up and cheered on. Delightful person and story.

  5. Not a Stepford

    I thought people outgrew these things.

    • The Dude Abides

      Outgrowing the help of others?? I hope not. Just because you didn’t make the cheerleading team, don’t take it out on cheery Betty Lou.

  6. Nice article about a nice lady. As a former college cheerleader, I can tell “Not a Stepford” to stuff it. I still cheer for my guy in the privacy of our bedroom. I carry the pom poms alittle lower and the splits are more difficult but the uniform still fits. He rather enjoys it as well. Give me a . . . ..

  7. Timothy Woodruff

    I coached Matt Cummings [son] with Bob Yingling on the ’76 Little League Rockets. Matt was a great kid and his Mother was just a dream LL Mom; our biggest helper, supporter and booster. She is just a fabulous person. Best to her and son Matt!

    Tim

  8. Stephen Rubin

    Go Betty Lou….GO
    We love ya!

  9. Give me a “B.” Give me an “E.” Give me a…. From one former cheerleader (Coleytown Jr. High, ’68-’69) to another, you’re the best of the best, Betty Lou!

  10. Rock on Spartans!

  11. Betty Lou, you are an original! And a great lady!