photo courtesy: Mary Hoffman
Paighton Baker ’18
Cheerleading. There are numerous cheerleading stereotypes. Some being, “Cheerleaders are dumb”, “It’s not a sport”, “It’s just a popularity contest”, and many more. Being a cheerleader and hearing these ridiculous statements is rather annoying. Because they aren’t true. I don’t think myself or my teammates are dumb. I don’t do cheerleading for the popularity, at all. I cheer because I love the sport. It fits my personality. I love being able to cheer on a team to victory, and being in on the action on the field or court. And trust me, cheerleading is a sport. People see competitive cheer as a sport, and not sideline. Well, readers let me tell you, us cheerleaders workout at every practice and all throughout the summer. We might not do your typical lifting. But at a typical cheer practice we do 25 jumps, and if we don’t do them well enough we do more. We run. As a warm up we run half a mile, when it is warm enough to go out on the track. And running is a punishment. Every time we talk during a game we get marked off on a spread sheet. And the amount of ticks on the sheet is how many minutes the squad runs. A few weeks ago, the freshman squad had to run a mile for talking. But, now that it is winter, and too cold to run, every time we talk we do push ups. And the talking is not just at games anymore. It is when we stretch, jump, and and talk during practice. We spend an hour jumping, stretching and working out. Then we move on to cleaning up our cheers. We go through all of the cheers we have learned, and if we are not loud enough or if we are not sharp enough we do them again, and again. And when we are not sharp enough we do motion drills. When we mess up on the drill we do more push ups. Then we do the drills again until they are hit perfectly. Every week we learn a new dance routine. And that is the hardest. We have about two to four days to learn and perfect it. We do it over and over again. Then we perform, but if we don’t learn it and if it isn’t perfect by our game we don’t do it. If one person doesn’t know it, she sits out. But hey, cheerleading isn’t a sport.