A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Cheer members discuss experience

The sport of cheer takes a lot of practice and determination to perform well at. The whole team has to work cooperatively in order to complete routines correctly, making it a hard thing to achieve.

Although to some people, cheer is not considered to be a demanding sport. However, to anyone who has participated in cheer, they know the effort that goes into it. Seniors Lydia Quandt and Haley Sheldon were asked to share their thoughts on cheer and their memories that came with it. 

“Some challenges that only cheer has is when one person is gone from practice or a competition we as a team have to find a way to make the routine work, so we might have to rewrite a whole routine right before we compete. We need everyone healthy to be able to advance our skills together,” Quandt confided.

It is important for each member of the team to be present. However even when everyone attends practice there are still difficulties. 

“In cheer I feel as if it is very difficult and takes a lot of perseverance to learn a new skill. I think one thing that is unique to cheer is the mind blocks that come along with learning new skills. I have had countless times where I have struggled to learn a skill because of a fear-induced mental block,” Sheldon explained. “There are situations where I know I am capable of a skill, but something in my mind is telling me that I can’t do it, or I am going to hurt myself doing so.”

This is where the challenge of mentality comes in. Trying to stay calm right before a performance, telling yourself you will do fine, and still being nervous to perform. 

“My least favorite thing about the competitions is definitely the nervous jitters I feel right before performing. Right before going on the mat to compete, I’m always worried about forgetting part of the routine or messing up on a tumbling pass. Sometimes I get in my own head about those kinds of things, so that is definitely my least favorite part about competitions,” Sheldon expressed .

Nerves may never go away, but the only thing that may help is practice. Hopefully practicing will help make oneself more comfortable during performances. 

“Sometimes I put time into practicing cheer material and skills outside of practices. Every once and awhile, a group of us will get together and go to an open gym in Green Bay, or somewhere with an actual cheer gym. Other than that, around the competition season, we are assigned a certain amount of work or practice to complete at home before coming to cheer practice next,” Sheldon explained. 

With all the  time and energy going into cheer, it pays off when you make memories you will never forget. 

“My most memorable moment in cheer is going to state every year and spending the weekend with the team. So many memories are made there every year. We get to spend a night or two in a hotel, and it is such a great bonding experience,” Sheldon reflected. “It is always so fun to walk around and watch other teams perform, meet new people, and create closer connections with the people on my team.”

Left to right: Lydia Quandt, Alexis Michonski, Haley Sheldon