Cheers and Fears: The Joy and Challenge of Lion's Cheerleading
Frozen, mind churning with cheer counts and anticipation of the next move. Everyone in sync, moving together as one whole body of individuals. Pom-poms glittering underneath the field lights ; heart-beats pounding, filling up the girl’s ears. Music vibrating the field and increasing in speed as the beat picks up for the stunts and moves taking place on top of the Lincoln Lions fierce and brooding head during the cheer squad’s halftime show. Coach Carrie Lyne is the brains behind the cheer squads on-field magic. She chooses the songs, produces the cheers, and coaches the girls to perfection. “I love her, she’s so nice!” Angelina Bairos expressed with a smile. “She’s the best coach you will ever have, she’s so nice.” In order to ensure a smooth and perfect performance, the cheer squad’s coach teaches the girls their dance, the girls listen and learn it, and then they all disperse into small groups to practice it. “Literally you have to be very focused. We take videos so that we can go home and practice because once it’s game day you can’t mess up,” she explained. Angelina Bairos is a back-spotter, which is the position on a cheer squad where the girls launch and catch the cheerleaders going up into the air for stunts. She is a strong leader for this role because it requires much strength and precision, both of which Angelina is skilled in. “When it’s a home game and the whole school is there: freshmen, sophomore, juniors, seniors, parents, graduated seniors that come and it’s halftime, to pump everyone up, it’s so nerve racking,” explained Angelina, describing how she feels on the field during an LHS football game. The emotions that she feels are very common for most cheerleaders, as is the enormous impact that their cheering creates for the moral of the football team and onlookers. “If it’s an away game I’m like ‘I don’t know these people’ and there isn’t as much pressure,” Angelina said.
The cheerleaders perform during the Homecoming game. Photo/video by Hailey Joyce.
This feeling is reverberated through an abundant amount of girls playing other sports and creates a more larger sense of ease among the cheer squad. Angelina feels that as the girls progress in their cheer the girls all gain a sense of ease after they have passed the starting point. All of the girls must be prepared for things in their cheer to become jumbled. “We start dancing and, like, Ainsley’s pants ripped the other day!” Angelina exclaimed. “It was so funny!” Incidents like this happen to everyone, even in their best moments, but do not prohibit the girls from performing and doing what they tirelessly prepare for. If someone is hesitant to go up into their stunt, back-spotters, like Angelina, push them along and keep the cheer consistent. The weather conditions, mishaps, and missteps do not head the girls from cheering on their team and pumping up their peers.