By Mia Haber
When the men and women of North Royalton tie up their sneakers for basketball games, no one questions whether or not their activity is a sport. Yet cheerleaders are often saddled with the debate of whether or not their activity is, in fact, a sport. Wherever people ultimately fall in this squabble, there is no denying the extreme physicality needed to to perform cheer.
At North Royalton High School, the cheer organization is known throughout the school. In preparation for a game during the week, the cheer team practices long and hard to be able to perform the stunts they do for the public eye. For a practice spot, the cheer team practices at Midwest Cheer & Dance Elite Cleveland center, located on York Road in North Royalton
During practices, the girls work on a plethora of activities to improve their next public performance. During a standard cheer practice, the girls take their time learning new cheers or polishing current ones. Lindsay Norwalk said the girls will work on “warm-ups, ´hello´ cheer, halftime dances, routines, and chants that should already be known.”
The cheers are physically very demanding, and to avoid possible injury, the freshmen cheer team must do a series of stretches to help before they perform. To get ready, Olivia Leo said, “We do jumping jacks, the shouting of the school name and colors, and stretch out our bodies, arms, legs, and back.”
Another important aspect of cheer is flexibility and learning how the body moves. To be a great, Kaylee Spangler said, “Start cheerleading at a young age, which will help prepare you for other physical abilities later on in high school cheer or middle school cheer.” Ones who choose to enter cheerleading at a young age, most likely tend to join a cheer team later on in middle school. After going through the middle school experience, high school opens up girls to competitive cheer and being apart of the Friday night football experiences and weeknight basketball games
Throughout the cheer season, the high school has a cheer team for sports events and also a team for competitions. Competitions are critical. “Freshmen don’t compete unless they join the team,” Leo said.
On the cheer team, many of the girls have different reasons as to why they wanted to start such a sport. Former North Royalton cheerleader, Briana Norwalk, introduced her younger sister, Lindsay Norwalk, to the sport. “I have fun, and the power to cheer people on and pump up the crowd, well, I love it,” Norwalk said.
“You would see others cheering at Friday football games and when I was younger, I thought I would give it a try,” Spangler said.
No matter what the reason they had for joining, North Royalton is grateful for the talent of our cheerleaders.
Mia Haber is a senior who plans to study English Literature in college next year. In Mia’s free time, you can find her working, doing homework, playing a musical instrument or hanging out with her friends. She also enjoys spending time with her family and especially time with her dogs. Mia also occasionally likes going to Hinckley Lake in the summer with her friends and enjoys swimming on a beautiful sunny day.