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Yes – Cheerleading IS a Sport

Gabby Puerner, Staff Writer

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I bet as soon as you saw this headline you thought to yourself – “cheer is absolutely not a sport.” Have you ever been to a cheer competition, or even watched them perform during the football games? I assume your answer is no because most people stick with the cheer stereotypes and turn their head the other way while we perform. But, what you don’t know, is that each of those cheerleaders is about to have a panic attack because they are so nervous that you are watching them. Hopefully, after you’re done reading this, you will respect Santiago’s cheer team and appreciate the hard work we all put in.

Most people don’t know that cheerleading is actually CIF regulated in the state of California as of 2017, which means that it is technically a sport. What does this mean for us? Well, because of this new regulation, we can not cheer on Sundays, and it alters our tryout process. Normally, just the actual Santiago coaches are the judges for tryouts, but in 2017 there were additional judges that are there to enforce the new CIF rules, and also give us a score. Any athlete knows that tryouts are incredibly nerve-racking, but imagine that you are alone in a room with your partner and the judges are watching your every move. I can personally say that tryouts are the most intense and mentally draining process that I have ever experienced. The stress is worth it once you see your number on a team list, but not everyone who tries out makes a team.

Now, let’s focus on football games and the preparation for them. Every week, both cheer teams learn a new routine to successfully perform at their football game. We stay after school when we do not have practice during school hours, so we can perfect these routines so that we don’t embarrass ourselves on the field. Also, you know those cheers we do on the sideline? The teams have to memorize over 60 of those cheers, which means learning the moves and words to each one. This may sound easy, but if a cheer is called and you do not quickly remember it, you are in for some embarrassment. We also learned around 5 or 6 dances, and some groups will stunt for the crowd, all while cheering on our football teams. Oh – and don’t forget the whole time we are stressing out about the halftime routine and if it will look perfect.

Time to discuss the most intense part of all – competition. Both teams learn a routine from a professional choreographer and then have a few months to practice. However, this year, the JV team only had one week to learn their routine before their first competition. But, we still brought home a first place win, and another the following week alongside Varsity who also took first. The worst part of performing is you know that if you mess up, you have just let down the whole team and possibly ruined your chance of winning. The adrenaline rushing through you while you perform is an unexplainable feeling. The suspense, while awards are being handed out, is my favorite part, especially when you hear your team’s name is called for first. So much work and tears are put into practice for the competition, but it’s rewarding in the end.

Lastly, I would like to tie together how our season is set up. In April, we try out for a team, and if you make one, you will start practicing in the summer. During summer, both teams attend cheer camp for a week outside of Corona. Once school starts, we begin practicing for football games and progressing our skills. After football games finish, we learn our choreography and Varsity cheers at the basketball games. Competition season continues through February and the start of  March. Then we have a small period of time with no events, but everyone practices outside of school to prepare for tryouts. You may be thinking – “when do they get a break?” Exactly. Cheer never stops, unlike many sports that are only for one season. This is why we become frustrated when someone says that what we do is not a sport. We endlessly work hard and get little recognition for it, so next time you are at a rally or football game, pay attention to your cheer teams and support them!

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1 Comment

One Response to “Yes – Cheerleading IS a Sport”

  1. Juleen Erives on March 9th, 2018 2:48 pm

    great job girly !!

    [Reply]

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Yes – Cheerleading IS a Sport