Saturday, October 30, 2010

Competitive High School Cheerleading

Most people see the cheerleaders at the football games cheering on the sidelines but there's a whole other world of competitive cheerleading out there. From November to March, competitive cheerleaders spend their weekends traveling all over the state and sometimes out of the state to competitions. I cheer for my school and my school also has a competition team which I also participate in. We go to camp in the summer and put together our routine; this includes choreographing a dance, putting together stunt sequences and a pyramid, coming up with a cheer, and adding tumbling where needed. A routine has to have all these elements and has to be about two minutes long. Two minutes, I know that seems like a lot of work for a two minute performance but in those two minutes you are constantly moving, flipping, dancing, jumping, cheering, and stunting. Once you have this routine down, you start competing.

If you were a competitive cheerleader you would  wake up anywhere from 4-7 in the morning on a weekend, depending on how far away you had to travel to compete. Once you were at the competition, you'd walk into a huge arena and see hundreds of cheerleaders and their parents in the stands; you'd see a 9 or 7 panel mat with girls warming up tumbling on it and a judge’s stand in front of the mat. You’d go put your bags down, put your sneakers on and go warm up your tumbling. Maybe an hour or so after warming up tumbling, you'd go with your team to warm up your full routine. Right after you warm up your full routine, you'd go out on the performance mat and perform for the judges.

You have one shot to hit every stunt, land every tumbling pass, and do the dance choreography correctly. You're standing in your first position just waiting for your music to start and your heart is pounding and your palms are sweating. The music starts and you just go. I've competed in competitions since I was eight and honestly once you're on that mat and that music starts you experience this feeling almost like blacking out; it's like your body knows what to do and just does it. You don't remember seeing anything or anyone out in the crowd. You end your routine and cheer as you exit the floor. You have the rest of the day to watch the other teams perform and awards are usually around 5 or 6 in the evening. They call all the teams down to the mat and they start handing out awards; after you find out how you placed you get to go home and rest after a long exhausting day. This is what a competitive cheerleader’s life is like on weekends in the winter and spring.
Columbus High School Cheerleading 08 STATE CHAMPS!

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