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Cheer: Bruises, Misconceptions & Stereotypes

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Cheerleading. It’s the sport the uncoordinated author of this article wishes she could do. When most people think of cheerleading, people think of glitter, cute uniforms, school spirit, and, the popular high-school brat from their favorite TV show.  Cheerleading, however, isn’t about exaggerated smiling or peppiness. Instead, it’s about determination, dedication and precision.  Cheerleaders often get a bad reputation from these assumptions and so, I set out to see if these misconceptions were true at Hills West.
When asked, the first thing the High School West cheer team wanted to rant about was the injuries. Every girl had bruises and scabs from being kicked in the face. Not that this sport is too dangerous, the right person in the right circumstances may dump sawdust in her eye on stage or have a tendency of tripping over props then falling off stage and the list goes on. In cheerleading, however, injuries are far more common.  Nicole Tang, a cheerleader at Hills West, even said that someone gets hurt everyday. Stunting and falling definitely are the most common causes of injury. Those injuries impact the routines too. When someone gets hurt, the whole routine has to be changed to make up for the missing person. Cheerleaders may have as little as one day to memorize a new routine. Just like in other sports, everyone has to take a bruise to the ego. Students try to move up from Junior Varsity to Varsity and this can be especially hard for underclassmen.  Because of this, cheerleading can be a high stress sport.
Doesn’t quite sound as glamorous as you thought? That’s not the only stereotype that TV got wrong. The cheerleaders I spoke to were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met! While many of us have friends on cheer, I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure about this interview.  Was I the only one who thought the cheerleaders would be the snarky and hateful (and other non-helpful qualities for writing an article) people TV made us believe?

“People are more surprised when they find out if you’re on cheer based on your personality, like if you have a kindhearted personality people assume you’ll be more stereotypical,” said Alexis Croker-Benn. To my surprise, however, everyone was super helpful and sweet! “You shouldn’t think we’re bitchy because we’re cheerleaders,” Jess Vivola said.

And how could anyone? They were just joking around in the cafeteria eating pizza like everybody else while waiting for their club to start. Sophomore Angelina Greco said that even the senior cheerleaders were pretty welcoming when she first joined the team as a freshman. There may be drama and exceptions, but mostly the cheer squad is just one happy family!
So, don’t be intimidated if you are thinking of joining cheer next year. These girls are incredibly sweet friends with an outstanding amount of resilience and commitment to this sport. GO HILLS WEST!