“Well kinda – they do cheer.”
By Kira B.
A week in my life from August – March: Practice Monday – Friday from 3:00-5:00pm. Football games every Friday night after practice (in fall), basketball games up to 3x a week after practice (in winter). Practice Saturday morning. Competition all day Sunday. Repeat.
We practice as much, if not more than any other Duxbury High School sport. We participate in other teams’ events on top of our own, in the heat of our competition season.
Yet we hear frequently, “Cheer isn’t a sport.”
We condition and work out during and after high school practice. By our own volition, we go to private lessons and open gyms. We fling and flip ourselves around, constantly pushing our physical and mental barriers to gain technique and strength. We have 6+ hour practices during the summer to get us into shape for the season.
Yet when someone asks their friend if we do a sport, they answer, “Well kinda – they do cheer.”
We lift people, we throw people, and we catch them. We rely on each and every person that competes on our team to try their absolute hardest at every practice and every competition. If one person doesn’t give their 100%, multiple people could get injured. At DHS, cheerleaders get more concussions on the mat than football players do on the field.
For the past two seasons, we’ve had few days off. And because of this, we break records.
Since I joined the team my freshman year, we won Regional Champs four times in a row, we qualified for States in fall and winter every year, we competed a fall and winter JV team every year, we scored over a 92 (record breaking for DHS), we placed in top 3 at States multiple times, and we made it to New Englands–all for the first time in DHS Cheerleading History.
Yet we are required to cheer on the DHS football and basketball teams to even be allowed to compete. We are a product of the traditional sideline cheerleading team that you see in the classic 1980s films, but we have evolved.
We have become so much more than a pair of pom poms, a pyramid, and a bow. We are athletes, and this is our sport.