By Noah Whitaker ‘18 , Staff Writer
“Cheerleading a sport? The truth revealed!”
A common misconception is that cheerleading is easy, but it is in fact a very challenging sport. BMHS cheerleader Ashley Smith explains, “we honestly train as much as the football team would.” People may not know the hard work and preparation the McNamara cheerleaders put in to make the team and also show off their school spirit.
Simone Frederick pointed out, “cheerleaders do the same type of workouts as any other sport.” Tyler Muniz added, “we work harder or just as hard as a football team or basketball team would because cheerleaders want to overcome the stereotype which is all we do is say ‘go team’ and flip.
This is the stereotype that is common for people who do not know a lot about cheerleading. The cheerleaders are a hardworking group of girls that train as hard as another sport. You may not recognize it but they recognize all the hard work they’ve been putting in since earlier this year when tryouts were held. So before anybody says cheerleading is not a sport, that’s a false statement, cheerleading is a sport.
BMHS cheerleaders described their workouts as hectic and according to Kiersten Stokes, ‘DEATH!’ They run suicides, does core exercises, a lot of cardio work and they have to run a mile in the beginning of practice. You might even think that they run for the track team as much as they run. Sierra Sweeney said, “No one really knows how hard it is to actually cheer and it takes a lot of strength, endurance, stamina, and on top of that to cheer you have to actually really want to do it. A lot of my workouts are focused on abs, flexibility, and developing muscles.” To perform at a high level you, “need a lot of stamina to do what we do on the floor,” claimed Tyler Muniz.
All seven McNamara cheerleaders interviewed preferred competitive cheer to high school cheer. Was it because of the mile and hard cardio work they do majority of the week after school?
Well Simone Frederick said, I prefer competitive because it involves more traveling and you are pushed to develop better skills. Tyler Muniz also said she preferred competitive because “I like the traveling aspect and I feel there’s more drive in the girls doing competitive cheer.” When watching ESPN sometimes during the summer time they would participate in AAU (travel) cheerleading which is competitive.
The competitive cheer looked more of you needed to have a good sense of what you are doing because of all the pyramids and throwing up in the air you had to do. Compared to high school cheer where the team is no very large and less technique is being used. Competitive cheer uses more creative routines than high school cheer.
To make the cheerleading team. You need to have good back handsprings and a robust tumbling ability. Back handsprings are really important because Sierra pointed out that you must have a back handspring to make varsity.
So why is tumbling important? Sweeney said, the tumbling piece is what makes the performance exciting for the audience. But the tumbling is one of the most important parts in a performance.
Kiersten expressed, tumbling gives a ooh & aah to the performance. So what else were the requirements or process to making the cheerleading team? Kiersten Stokes indicated, “you also had to have some sort of memorizations to do the cheer and dance.” Veteran Charle Robinson said, “some of the requirements were your ability to do a variety of jumps, tumbling, memorization of cheers and choreographed dances.”
Lastly you also have to have the mental edge added to the athletic edge needed to make the team. Tyler Muniz pointed out, “workouts are very intense, not a lot of people are strong enough mentally or physically to do what most cheerleaders do in workouts.” That is a key factor into making the team and not being able to make the team.
The McNamara cheerleaders have the full basketball season left. They have been working hard and they have high expectations. Kala Washington pointed out that she would like to go to cheer events with this team. Stokes said confidently, “this team has a lot of potential.” They cheerleaders have high expectations for themselves and the team as a whole. It is time to take notice of the great things the cheerleaders are doing.