Cheerleading: the American phenomenon that’s scrapped the short ‘rah-rah’ skirts, pom-poms and many other stereotypes. It takes more than a pretty face to become a champion.
You’re standing on the mat, head down, light beaming on your glowing t-zone (it’s sweat not sparkle) and adrenaline rushing through every part of your body. You’ve got two and a half minutes to prove yourself. What do you do?
Let’s start off by saying that I never imagined myself as a cheerleader. I always thought there were too many negative stereotypes and I couldn’t picture myself jumping up and down in a sparkly leotard to chart-topping songs. That was before I found out what all-star cheerleading really was.
All-star cheerleading is split into six levels, 1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest. This can then be split again into all-girl or coed. All-girl is when all the athletes competing are female and coed is when there is a combination of both males and females on a team.
A routine consists elements of acrobatic tumbling, high stunting ability, a series of jumps including: pikes, herkies and toe-touches (jargon that the everyday person is not familiar with) and a short, but sassy dance.
All of this is jammed into a 150 second performance set to a medley of upbeat songs with the hope to be the best team in your division in front of crowds of thousands across the country.
A two and a half minute routine change someone’s life and, that is all it takes for an all-star team to go from zeros to heroes.
It takes a lot of mental strength to be a cheerleader (something you probably didn’t expect to hear). It’s crucial that you have a clear headspace before entering the gym. Injuries can happen quickly and are often due to a lack of concentration.
You will never catch an all-star cheerleader with a pair of pom-poms in his/her hands. Cheerleading is a physical sport filled with determination, strength and passion. Without this you’ve not even got a shot at being a Grand National Champion.
Being a cheerleader is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only are you surrounded by like-minded and passionate people, but you get to work alongside talented individuals who are likely to be your friends for life.
So I’m just going to leave this video here just in case you’re completely baffled about what cheerleading is, or want an insight to what we do… ps. these guys are incredible, I’m still in awe.
Thanks for reading,
Peace and love,