By John Knebels

Special to The CS&T

When he became involved as a cheerleader while a student at Temple University, Charlie Murgia never realized that the sport would become a part of his life.

A 1980 graduate of Lansdale Catholic High School, who for seven years served as the athletic director for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Murgia continues to volunteer his services to the sport whenever he can.

Take, for instance, the recent Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) archdiocesan cheerleading championship at West Chester University. Murgia helped organize the event by finding judges and setting up the day-long schedule.

“I love working with kids,” said Murgia, 46. “There are so many rewards, especially working with the younger ones. They’re like sponges. They are very eager and they love to learn. I get a great sense of joy watching them soak everything up. They have a sense of rapture about what they do.”

A father of four children ranging in age from 3 to 12, Murgia has coached basketball, softball and soccer. A full-time team salesman at Schuylkill Valley Sports, Murgia and his wife Tanya are members of St. Jude Parish in Chalfont.

Known for his high energy level and never-ending optimism, Murgia’s almost 20 years of cheerleading contribution as competition director and emcee is appreciated by Brian Hanlon, assistant director for athletic ministry for the archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults.

“He makes it a great day for the girls,” said Hanlon. “The atmosphere and the competition are exciting. The focus is on having fun and giving the girls an opportunity to let their gifts and hard work shine through.”

In the large parish spanision of the CYO championship, St. Timothy’s won the overall title while Resurrection of Our Lord and SS. Simon and Jude, West Chester, placed second-third. Resurrection won the Spirit Award as well.

In the small parish spanision, St. Teresa of Avila, Norristown, Mother of spanine Providence, King of Prussia, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Morton, finished first through third, and St. Richard’s was named winner of the Spirit Award.

Although steady competition remains an integral factor with cheerleading, Murgia said the sport itself has grown considerably in terms of skill and athleticism since his days as a cheerleader at Temple.

“Their ability to do things like pyramids and building partner stunts is amazing,” said Murgia. “They are so dedicated to get better and better. It shows in their preparation and performance.”

Murgia lauded the CYO for helping him as a youngster when he played sports at St. Stanislaus in Lansdale.

“The nurturing that the CYO gave me played an important part of my life,” he said. “Being able to come back and help out gives me a great sense of fulfillment.”

John Knebels can be reached at