I used to look at the cheerleaders at my high school and think, “wow that is really sad.”
Let me first inform you that I have never been the girly type. I played soccer and basketball for 8ish years and tennis for 6ish. I was an athlete and tomboy for some time. I didn’t care about wearing makeup to a game or if I sweat my entire face off. At sporting events I never cheered loud, I just watched.
Starting my first year of college, I wanted to join something that would get me more involved and you guessed it, cheerleading. I was hooked in by a captain named Grace who told me how fun it is and that it’s a great experience. She also told me that I would get on the team instantly because they lost so many people. Great, I don’t need to tryout so this was already looking good for me.
I went to the first practice and didn’t really know what to expect. I did dance a few years ago, but don’t remember anything. I’ve never cheered so I don’t think I can do this. I’ve never stunted and don’t even know what that means. I just thought cheerleading would consist of dancing and yelling. Well I was wrong. We went over some pretty easy cheers and I couldn’t cheer. The words physically could not come out of my mouth. It just felt weird to yell. I tried to yell “Go C-U” and I sounded like I was talking. I just couldn’t do it. After a few more times I started yelling. I learned that it should come from your stomach and you aren’t yelling loud enough if your stomach isn’t moving. I was starting to yell, but not at 100%. We went into stunting, which consists of doing things in the air, by lifting girls up. Our coach gave us all roles based on our height and I was a base. Another girl and I would be holding girls up in the air and throwing them up with our hands. I didn’t even know where to start, but I knew I was strong and this would be good for me. We started off with just a hang drill(pictured below)
Now this hurt like hell. Having a girl just push down on your shoulders and stay there for a minute then repeat is not fun. I definitely felt that the next day. Staci, our coach decided to push us further. Awesome, so now my shoulder is in pain and I have to do more. We were doing basic things and the second thing we did was a prep(pictured below)
This is when things started getting real. I was holding a girl up by her feet int he air. I was the deciding factor of whether or not she hit the ground. The #1 rule is to never let anyone hit the ground. If someone did we would do pushups. My arms and wrists were getting tired of doing this over and over. I remember telling my mom that I joined cheer and she kind of laughed and didn’t take me seriously. I told my close friend and I got a laugh and a joke. It made me more determined to go through with it and learn everything. It was just a start of an amazing experience.
Practices went by and I started to feel like a cheerleader. I am doing things I never thought I could accomplish and I feel stronger in the sense that I can do anything if I really try. My outlook on cheerleading has changed drastically and by actually participating it has shown me that it is a sport. It’s more than just cheering loud and shaking your poms. It may look like it is easy and we aren’t doing anything, but step into my shoes and tell me I’m not doing anything besides cheering.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’ – Walt Disney