The Ravens’ cheerleader and her telltale waistline

In this 2011 file photo, Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders including Courtney Lenz, right, cheer on team during a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
(Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun/MCT)

So, American women can now serve in combat, but fat women can’t be cheerleaders?

Talk about one step forward and two steps and -- all together now, ladies, and keep smiling -- a high leg kick back!

Honestly, how much social upheaval can one country take? And on the eve of the Super Bowl, no less, that stirring celebration of all things American: food, football, funny beer commercials, pretty girls and halftime wardrobe malfunctions.


Like most Americans -- at least judging from recent polls -- I’m OK with the women-in-combat deal. Of course, that doesn’t include folks like The Times’ conservative Op-Ed columnist Jonah Goldberg, whose opposition to the decision boiled down to this: “Men and women are different.” (At least now we know who was helping prep Rick Perry for his GOP primary debates!)

Sheesh, if you’re going to be a naysayer, why not a more intelligent argument, like this: “Who wants it to be true when someone says ‘Your mother/wife/girlfriend wears combat boots!’ ”?

Anyway, on to the sad case of Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Courtney Lenz. The 23-year-old didn’t make the Ravens’ Super Bowl squad because either 1) she put on weight (her story) or 2) the team can take “only” 32 cheerleaders [it has 60, which, you gotta admit, is a lot of go-go boots, short-shorts and pompons to buy], and she simply didn’t make the cut (the Ravens’ side).

Now Lenz, like the Ravens’ star linebacker Ray Lewis, is retiring at the end of the season. But unlike Dancin’ Ray, there’ll be no Super Bowl for Lenz, no ultimate game to cap off her five-year high-kicking career.

Controversy had already reared its ugly head at this year’s Super Bowl. Lewis has been dogged this week by allegations that he used deer antler spray and pills to help him recover from injury (plus Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote about Lewis’ troubling connection to a long-ago double murder).

But it’s Lenz who’s seemingly paying the biggest price -- done in not by ingesting deer antler pills but, apparently, a few too many crab cakes.

Now, the 124-pound Lenz admits to packing on, oh, about 1.6 to 1.8 pounds during the season. Which, face it, given the wing-beer-chili-pizza menu at the typical Super Bowl party, is about what most of us will gain by halftime.

But was the weight gain really Lenz’s Waterloo? We’ll probably never know.

Somehow, though, I keep thinking the fateful conversation went something like this:

Lenz: Will I still be a cheerleader?

Cheerleading honcho: To quote the Ravens, “Nevermore.”

One thing’s for sure, however. She may not have made the team, but it will be her face, and her name, that most people will remember from this year’s Ravens cheerleading squad.

Which just goes to show that whether on the front lines or in the conga line, you’ve gotta be a fighter.


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