Cheerleading, according to dictionary.com, is “a sport involving the performance of organized cheering, chanting and dancing in support of a sports team at games.”
Bethany Fair, one of our very own Southern Nazarene University cheerleaders, says, “Cheerleading makes me feel like I am a part of something much bigger than myself. We are a team that celebrates each other’s accomplishments and the accomplishments of others.”
I grew up with a sister who participated in cheerleading, and I know firsthand that it is not easy. Hours and hours are put into practicing the chants heard at the games. These cheerleaders have to be tough– my sister would come home with bruises all over her legs from falling. Cheerleaders who are flyers can particularly relate to this, as they are thrown in the air and must trust their bases to catch them.
Kristen Stinger, a flyer on the cheer team at Southern Nazarene University, is going on her sixth
year of cheerleading. Although this is her first year cheering at SNU, she has had many years of experience and added insight into cheering at SNU. When asked how cheering on our SNU athletes makes her feel, she said, “I absolutely love supporting our athletes. It is encouraging to know our athletes and cheer them on to victory.”
Cheerleaders are athletes’ biggest fans. They are there from the beginning of the game to the very end. They are standing, chanting and stunting to support their athletes.
The cheerleaders are not only there to cheer on the athletes, as part of their responsibility is to lead the crowds. They help the crowds build up the energy and enthusiasm needed to cheer on our teams. This energy and enthusiasm can help rally up any sports team to play to their best abilities.
Stinger defined cheerleading from a personal perspective: “Cheerleading is very important to me. It is giving back to our school and encouraging school spirit. Also, it is cheering on our student athletes as they graciously give their time to support our school. Personally, it goes beyond just supporting athletes though. It is being present and active in relationships with those around us, and as a cheerleader, this is a pathway for me to succeed in this area.”
Cheering requires strength, dedication and confidence. At SNU, we support and are thankful for our cheer team!