Is there more to cheer than pom poms?

“To me being a great cheerleader means having pride in your school and having pride in yourself.” -Jillian Walters, sophomore, said.


Joseph Murphy

The cheer team takes the sidelines at football games to encourage the team and rile up the fans.

Often when shows and movies have a cheerleader character they are portrayed as the bully or villain of the story. These are stereotypical and preconceived ideas of cheerleaders. People outside the sport of cheer may want to know exactly what cheer is and what it means to those involved. Is there more to cheer than pom poms?

Mia Harmon and Jillian Walters, sophomores, are both at the varsity level on the competition and sideline cheer teams. This is their second season cheering for the school. When asked why she joined cheer, Walters said Harmon encouraged her to join the team as a freshman, and she fell in love with it.

“I remember going into sixth grade and one day she was like you should cheer with me and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so right,’” Walters said. “I just started it and I fell in love with the aspect that I love stunting. And I love having that trust and bond with other people and I felt like no other sport has.”

Harmon joined cheer in third grade and stuck with it due to her love of stunting.

“I felt like I found where I belonged and that place was in front of a crowd showing my school pride,” Harmon said.

Beginners may wonder what skills they need to join cheer. The answer is none, according to Harmon and Walters.

 “Cheer is something, especially with our team, where you can go into it not knowing anything and our coaches are so sweet that they’ll help you through the whole thing,” Harmon said. “And our team is a very supportive one. So if you have no experience in anything cheer-related, you will come right in and feel like you belong.” 

Walters describes the team as being like “one big family.”

“A lot of girls on the team who are willing to help each other out,” Walters said. 

When you think of cheer the first thing that may come to mind is pom poms and “Friday Night Lights” but there’s another part to it—  competition. Harmon and Walters both describe traditional competition as being difficult, as it comprises stunting, tumbling, and dance. 

Roop Aporupa, sophomore, is an exchange student from Bangladesh. Aporupa joined the cheer team this year. 

“I feel like my coaches are really nice, especially the first year and it is not something that I have seen a lot of exchange students do,” Aporupa

Aporupa also touched on what people in Bangladesh think of cheer. 

“They think it’s very stereotypical,” Aporupa said. “ I’m starting like right now telling people they see me doing cheer and they’re like, ‘Wow, it’s not perfect.’”