Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 1/31/13

Too often we forget that there is a human element to sports that goes beyond the final score of a game. This week, a cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens is giving us a reminder about that very theme. Courtney Lenz is a 5-year veteran of the Ravens cheerleading squad, according to ABC News, and she'll be retiring from her role with the Ravens at the conclusion of this season. Despite that, she did not receive an invitation to join the team in New Orleans for an opportunity to cheer for the Ravens in the Super Bowl. For the Super Bowl, teams are not allowed to bring their entire cheerleading team. Because of this, many cheerleaders are left out, but one would think that a 5-year retiring veteran would be a sure lock, right? Well, that's not the case. Apparently the Ravens selected their group based, I assume, on their cheering talent. Many fans are outraged by the apparent wronging of such a dedicated member of the cheer squad, and have started an online petition to send Ms. Lenz to the Super Bowl. At the time of writing this, the petition was just shy of 4,400 signatures. Although it appears Lenz will not be heading to New Orleans, the story does serve to remind us all that there are people behind the game, and in this case, I think it's important to reward loyalty, dedication and hard work. Apparently there are about 4,400 other people that completely agree. [follow]

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