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October 20, 2022
Throughout the entire football game, the Tosa West Cheer team leads the audience in chants and cheers while entertaining the audience during breaks in the game, whenever West scores, and during halftime.
“We really want to be the height of the game because we have to cheer the game on,” said Junior Amari Monk. ”Especially around this time, like for homecoming, for the pep rally and for competition. It just gets harder throughout the year. So we really just need to like mentally prepare ourselves for that.”
There are two types of cheer throughout the game: poms, which are done on the ground for short amounts of time, and stunts, which are done in the air and on the ground during longer breaks in the game. The East-West game and the homecoming game add extra pressure for the team.
Mental preparation is an important aspect of cheerleading. Because cheer is a sport meant to entertain, it can be extremely stressful to mess up.
“I just want people to understand that we are people too. We have feelings, like if you see someone fall or something, don’t just say ‘oh my god, she failed, that is so lame’. Or say something rude, because that really hurts our feelings because we put a lot of time and effort in. It’s just that sometimes things don’t go right,” said Junior Kayla Barki.
Additionally, the physical aspect of cheer can be stressful. Some stunts are difficult or dangerous.
“Cheer is very competitive. And I know a lot of people think cheer is just fun and it’s just gonna be like a breeze, but we really put a lot of stress and strain on our bodies,” said Barki.
Monk agrees: “It really is hard, just as hard as any other sport, just as hard as basketball, just as hard as football. You condition your body just like any other sport. It is very hard and it can drain you, mentally and physically.”
Although cheer is physically and mentally demanding, cheer can be rewarding.
“Learning difficult stuff and motivating your stunt group to get [a stunt], and hitting it multiple times is really fun,” Monk says.
Cheer can also provide a community throughout high school.
“I started to cheer last year. I joined cheer, because a friend wanted me to do it with her. And she ended up leaving, but I stayed because of my friends,” said Junior Xia McFadden.
“The best part of cheer is being with people who push you to do things out of your comfort zone,” said Barki.