Debbie Jeon, Guest Writer
During the winter sports season, cheerleaders play a crucial— but often underappreciated— role when it comes to basketball games. Unlike other varsity sports, cheerleading has a more inclusive age range— allowing all students to join and participate. Both boys and girls are welcome to join, as it would create more balance within the team— however, GSIS’ team mostly comprises of girls from grades 8 to 12.
Cheerleaders capture the energy of the crowd and motivate our basketball players, raising the morale of everyone in the crowd. The chants and cheers provide enthusiastic and positive energy from the bench and drive the athletes to become competitive. Cheerleaders dance, strike poses, and yell out chants to signify their support and encouragement. Despite the common belief that cheerleaders do little work besides cheering, cheerleaders also entertain the audience during intermissions.
Although many may not realize it, cheerleading is just as physically exertive and technical as other sports. Cheerleading stunts and tumbles—such as cartwheels, pyramids, and handsprings—require tons of technical skill for the cheerleader to be able to move their entire body. Cheerleading also oftentimes requires potentially dangerous movements, making trust an essential factor in cheer. Performances that involve more than one cheerleader completing a stunt are all about working and communicating together effectively.
The three main roles in a cheer pyramid are the flier, the spotter, and the base. Known to be the “hardest” position to be in, bases provide the foundation for the flier. Bases require strong leg muscles because they have to lift the flier up in the air. Furthermore, a pyramid’s fliers are mainly seen as the “highlight” of the choreography—however, without the spotter and the base, the flier cannot be spotlighted and perform their role. Fliers usually need to be fairly light in weight and have good balance. Lastly, the spotter is the person behind the flier who supports the flier to safely go up and down, and acts as a “safety guard”.
Moreover, just like other varsity athletes, varsity cheerleaders also practice four days a week— spending hours rehearsing and perfecting their routines and chants. Cheerleaders with more experience mentor the team’s rookies and teach them GSIS’ chants. As a team, cheerleaders work together to brainstorm new intermission dances that will hopefully keep the crowd entertained. The team rehearses their chants and routines until they are all synchronized and cheering with their loudest voices.
Ms. Wright, the cheer coach, decided to continue coaching again this year because of her love for how cheerleading represents and captures GSIS’s school spirit. Interestingly, Ms. Brown has stepped in this year as another coach to help push the team to qualify within the top three in the KAIAC league. Ms. Wright has expressed, “It’s been a few years since we were able to fully participate as a team and I’m really looking forward to working with Ms. Brown to help mold this team into something really special. The girls we have this year are really talented and I can’t wait to see the creativity they bring to our routines.”
Now that the winter season is approaching its conclusion, our cheerleading team has worked hard until the end and has played an essential role in livening up our basketball games and providing moral support to our players.