Gooooo Eagles!

Give me an E-A-G-L-E-S! What’s that spell? Eagles! With the start of the football season, many of the cheerleaders are busy cheering at every game to show school spirit. The football players are perceived as the stars of the show, but sometimes the cheerleaders go unnoticed. Between away games and memorizing routines, there is much preparation the cheerleaders go through to get ready for Friday Night Lights aka FNL. 

Game days are activity packed and there’s much to do at school before actually stepping foot in the stadium. This includes making posters and posting on social media in order to encourage students to come to the game. One key aspect of preparation, is memorizing routines. The cheers they perform may seem easy to some, but a lot of work goes into making these routines flawless. Varsity member, Mozli Partida says the time for getting each routine clean varies.

“To memorize a routine, it probably takes about a day, so that’s probably like eight hours. And then if you want to perfect it, it’s going to take about a month. That’s if you want to get it really good and make it look clean. It really just depends on how long the routine is and what moves are in it. Like some routines are easier to learn than others, ¨ said Partida.

Aside from memorization, a routine actually has to be practiced so that it can be polished. There are opportunities for the cheerleaders to practice in class as a group and then go home and work on moves that they personally need to improve on. Practicing consistently is sometimes necessary in order to get a routine down. Junior Captain, Taylor Black says that practice times are different based on each team, but there is always time to do what is needed.

¨Varsity practices fourth and eight period because we kinda do more stuff. Then JV practices in fourth period. So that’s when we get time to practice as a whole squad and do whatever we need to do all together. But when I´m home I just keep practicing and practicing until I learn the routine, ¨ said Black.

Not only do the cheerleaders work hard, so do the coaches. The coaches have different responsibilities when it comes to making sure the cheerleaders are ready to do what they have to do. Whether it’s making sure everyone is stretched or that nobody forgot their uniform, various tasks are imperative to make sure the cheerleaders are in top shape.  Junior varsity coach, Rebecca Wright explains how her responsibilities vary.

“I´m responsible for my two squads. I coach sub varsity green and sub varsity black. We support teams like football and basketball. Most of it is making sure that the squads are there, that they are being supervised, that they are building skills and having progression. So by the end of the year, every individual cheerleader is stronger and more advanced than she was when she came. I also assist with whatever my head coach needs, making sure that she has an extra set of hands,¨ said Wright.

Through all the hard work, there is a more fun side to cheer. Away games are different from home games because the team actually travels to another school to cheer for the eagles. Whereas in a home game, they just stay at Newsome. The bus rides are long, but they give the cheerleaders time to bond and relax before they have to start cheering. Varsity member, Mozli Partida, says that one of the best parts about being apart of cheer is the bus rides to the away games.

“Don´t get me wrong. The games that are super far away are really boring because we don’t have a student section so there’s nobody really watching us. The games that are a little close by are good because there’s at least some students there. I’d say the best part about the away games though are the bus rides because it’s fun to be able to talk to the whole team. Since the squad is so big there are friend groups within the squad, but on the bus you get to talk to everybody,¨ said Partida.

The importance of the cheerleading squad stems from beyond cheering at football games. Although they are vital to the games, they also participate/have participated in activities such as pep rallies and freshmen orientation. As stated on their official website, the main goal of their organization is to give students a sense of spirit in their school. Varsity coach, Alyssa Turner, believes that the cheerleaders give students representation by displaying great pride.

¨The cheerleaders are important to the school because we represent everything that Lake Ridge is. We represent the student body and represent the morals and values of the school. We lead everyone in spirit, leadership, and community service at the school,” said Turner.

This may be the reason why so many students try out each year in hopes of becoming a part of the squad, but not everyone joins for the same reason. For some, it’s about being a part of something bigger than themselves, for others it’s about fulfilling a lifelong dream. Junior Varsity member, Sydney Tamo tried out for both reasons.

¨To be honest, I’ve been dancing since I was six years old, so I’ve always loved cheer, dance, and other things relating to that. I just love cheerleading because It’s so fun to be a part of a team and represent your school. I did cheer in middle school, so I knew I was going to want to try out when I got to high school. This is my third year cheering for Lake Ridge and I plan to continue and hopefully make varsity my senior year,” said Tamo.

The cheerleaders are a cohesive unit who takes care of each other. After being on the squad for so long, they tend to form great friendships which go beyond the halls of the school. Being a part of the squad also establishes a sense of unity.  Varsity Coach, Alyssa Turner says that it’s great being able to develop relationships with her cheerleaders.

“The best part of coaching cheer is the relationships that are built with my cheerleaders, as any coach would say. I mean, they´re not just students, they´re my student athletes, and after knowing a lot of them for four years, they become kind of like family,” stated Turner.

Being a cheerleader isn’t as easy as it may seem. Much dedication and work goes into what is seen at the football games. The football team may be the focus of everything, but the cheerleaders deserve some type of recognition as well.