Cheering for Cheer Season!
By Karina Rodriguez
October has come to an end which means one thing: Cheer season is starting. You may notice them on the sidelines cheering at basketball games or watching them perform at a pep rally, but a lot goes on that we do not know about, including the fact that it’s a competitive team. There have been some changes and it can be stressful running the team, but it is all in preparation for the season.
One major difference from last year is the coaching staff. Northside’s eight-year long cheer coach decided that her coaching days had to come to an end, and was replaced by Mr. Mark Thompson, math department. Thompson has had many years of experience and was even the coach for Northside’s Poms team. When asked about the change, Jackie Rodriguez, Adv. 901, said, “There has been a shift in the dynamic compared to last year, but we are very thankful to him for taking over the role of coach.”
The cheer squad has been working very hard to prepare for this year’s season. Even though cheer is officially a winter sport, the team starts practicing over the summer. It is not just picking up pom-poms and cheering; it is conditioning, practicing stunts and new skills, and taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Although some people do not view cheer as a sport, it definitely takes a lot of work and dedication like other sports.
Being a captain can also be stressful. Rodriguez said, “There are 20 girls looking up to me, expecting me to lead practice and waiting to be taught new things. A lot of time definitely goes into it, so you do not really get a day off and it is a constant thing. I am always thinking about what to add to the routine.” However, all of the hard work pays off when it is competition time, which is the “most exciting thing about the season because of the environment and seeing other competitors,” according to Rodriguez.
Northside sees a portion of the routine at pep rally, but the finished routine is performed at competitions. It consists of a verbal cheer, tumbling, jumps, stunting, and a dance portion. Cheer has competed at sectionals, typically against suburban teams, and the city competition, which they have placed in for the last several years. As of now, the team’s biggest competitor is Brooks High School, which they will face off against at next year’s city competition in January.