From My View For October 23
With all the hoopla surrounding the fall sports – and with the wrestling, boys and girls basketball sports nearing – we’ve been remiss in acknowledging a sport that lasts through all seasons… Cheerleading.
Cheerleading runs through the fall and into the winter. These athletes don’t get a break. Cheerleading is more than just a group – of mostly girls – cheering at football and basketball games.
Cheerleading plays a role in physical activities, such as stunting. The athletes also compete against other high schools’ cheerleaders in competition that the WVSSAC puts on.
The primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of different skills that all squads must adhere too, and is judged by many different people, including former cheerleaders and cheer coaches. Most of our area squads go the extra mile and perform at regional and conference contests, like the OVAC and other conferences as well.
Back a few years ago the national governing body for the sport of cheerleading launched the sport of stunt, which combines all of the many athletic skills from cheering to dancing, tumbling, as well as other skills to numerous to mention.
Some cheerleaders also participate in other sports as well – like basketball and volleyball during the fall and winter seasons, where they will have to choose one or the other while they are getting ready for competions. Because of this, many coaches have a policy that you can only participate in one sport, and if it’s cheerleading, it hurts the cheerleading team the most when preparing for competions.
Cheerleading is more of a team sport than all the others. When a cheerleader misses a competition, nine times out of 10, the team will either have to change the routine or do it without, and judges will start deducting points, with no chance to place or win a competition.
You think the sport is easy? You need to watch a practice. A cheerleader, at times, must lift up a teammate who is her size – or bigger – and hold her up in the air and do a full stunt sequence without dropping her, and actually catch her. It has been proven, over and over, that cheerleading is a dangerous sport.
When the cheerleaders are in competition mode, you can see the determination in their eyes, as they focus in what they have been practicing for months. They still give a killer of a smile.
Cheerleaders must lean on each other all the times, and rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. I’m sure they don’t want to rehearse from time to time. Maybe it’s because of a fight they might have had with someone dear to them, but still they must focus and cheer.
I’m sure they put a strain on their knees and legs, along with their backs. It’s just hard, in most cases, and there are some that don’t rehearse and participate in competitions.
And that’s cool too. I understand the importance of teamwork, and they won’t compete because of many different rules, that the team, coach, school or the conference may sanction.
However, I hate to say, there are teams that do not compete for one reason or another. Sometimes it might be they haven’t had the opportunity to practice or hire people to come in to lend them a hand with putting on a routine.
The fear factor about falling, during throws, is in play, but if you have ever had the chance to see what these kids do to get ready for Prime-Time (Region, State and OVAC). It may only take a few minutes for the routine, but it’s action-packed for most of the competition, and how they do this and still be able to smile and look happy, is some-what remarkable.
Cheerleading ranges from chanting, to intense physical activity, and energetic dance routines that involve tumbling, jumps, and much more. These girls will be starting up their regional competition Nov. 9 at East Faimont High School.
What is sad, but is needed because of the safety aspect is the girls that are playing volleyball will most likely have to wait till the OVAC competition that will be held in February, and the girls that play basketball, may have to wait till the next school year to be able to compete.
Its also sad that all the work the cheerleaders have to endure to be able to compete might come down to a fall, slip or a team member get sick and can’t compete, its over if they are seniors. There is so much to this sport, they work on their craft for most of their school year, and if any of these things happen its over. They must have a really good way to be able to hide their emotions.
If you have a chance and see the cheerleading athletes out and about give them some words of comfort, and thank them for their commitment to their sport. They all are Athletes of the Year.