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Cheerio to Cheerleading Misconceptions

gcu wolves cheerleading whathannahwrote

Hiya! It’s your friendly neighbourhood cheerleader, here to push aside any misconceptions about the fab sport (yes, sport) that is cheerleading.

Any time I mention to people that I’m a cheerleader, it’s met with surprise. I’m not offended, I wouldn’t expect it either. I normally have to take a break climbing up my stairs to my flat, and I only live on the 2nd floor.

It’s then often followed up by questions like “how did you get into that!?” or “I wanted to join a team, but I’m not cut out for that”. I always have mixed reactions to that, because there was once a time where I’d have said the same. For three years, actually; I so desperately wanted to join our university team and shake pom poms in a pretty uniform, but I was incredibly hesitant about pushing myself to do it. I had zero experience and I didn’t feel that I looked like the “typical” cheerleader, so I totally understand when people seem a bit reluctant about putting themselves forward. On the other hand, since joining, I’ve learned that these fears are simply fears – I can only talk from college/university team experience, but people of all levels of experience are usually welcomed. I know of a few teams who hold auditions, but even then I’m not sure just how strict they actually are. As far as my team – GCU Wolves – are concerned, anyone’s welcome to join.

And when it comes to the sport aspect – well. Yes, there is some bouncing up and down on the spot, smiling and waving pom poms in the air. There’s also ridiculous combinations of body movements that you just shouldn’t physically be able to execute in such a short space of time, but somehow still works. You use muscles you didn’t know existed before, and you eventually come to realise that you can actually train yourself to be a bit more flexible; up until around March I hadn’t been able to bend and touch the floor since I was about 10. And of course, there’s a pretty big risk of injury occurring when you’re throwing yourself up in the air… Despite this, cheerleading is constantly cast aside as a “non-sport” – it isn’t even included in the national leagues for sports in British universities and colleges. I honestly challenge anyone to try and nail a three minute routine with full-on jumps and stunts all while keeping a big smile on your face…

One more. The idea of cheerleaders being the mean girls, who just kind of travel in groups and judge anyone not in a mini skirt identical to theirs. Not a thing. At all. In all fairness, films and TV shows about high school have hardly alleviated this concept – can you think of a friendly and approachable cheerleader in a film off the top of your head? I can’t, and so it was something I too worried about when I decided to sign up for my team. Turns out, it couldn’t be further from the truth! I’ve met a great bunch of girls who are supportive, friendly and love to socialise. For our team, it’s definitely a “the more the merrier” idea, and I’m sure it’s the same in other college and university teams.

As I say, my experience only comes from that I’ve found in a university team, so I can’t speak on behalf of all cheer teams – but if your institution has a team and you’re holding yourself back from joining, just go for it! I spent years dithering, and totally wish I’d just gone for it in my first year. It’s great fun, it’s great exercise, and you make fab friends. AND you get to wear a cute outfit. Totally not the point, of course…






  • Kim

    I remember cheerleading when I was in secondary school. It was a lot of fun, but very short lived, as we didn’t have enough interest. Sadly.

  • Lucy Rachael

    Yess! So true, everyone thinks you have to be a bitchy skinny minnie to be a cheerleader! Lived this post, much love from a HWU Wolf to a GCU Wolf xxx

  • Hannah

    I never joined any Cheer-leading team although I would have loved to as it looks like so much fun. The perfect combination of dance and gymnastics. But alas I decided to play hockey and netball instead, which ended with probably just as many bruises but even more days out in the cold weather. I would love to see a video of you and your team cheer-leading if such one exists. x

  • pixieskies

    I miss cheerleading a lot! I used to be a flyer when I was a lot younger and smaller, but I’m far too clumsy and unflexible to make the attempt now. Love watching it still though, one of my housemates cheers for college and I love seeing her videos!

    Megan //

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