Story Time: Part 4 – Cheers! (and Track Stuff)

So did I mention how much I loved h.s.? Yes? Ok. HS served as a lot of firsts for me like, my first boyfriend, my first love, my first dance (wait, actually I had that in 7th grade). One of my favorite aspects of h.s. was cheerleading. I was a cheerleader all four years, as well as in 8th grade. In h.s., we were a competitive cheer squad, meaning we went to a number of competitions each year. When I first started cheering, cheerleading was not under the Michigan athletic association (MHSAA), so technically it wasn’t a “sport”. But by my sophomore year, that changed. The MHSAA added cheerleading as a sport and we were overwhelmed with a plethora of requirements. Mainly, we had to compete in more competitions in order to qualify for regional and state level competitions. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. Typically, we practiced every day for 3 hours after school and Saturday mornings for a couple hours. However, when we prepared for competitions, we practiced before and after school. It was brutal, especially practicing before school. Ugh, up at 5:00am to get to practice by 6am. We practiced until 7:30. Then went to school all day, then back to practice for 3 hours. BRUTAL! Saturdays, we did “marathon” practices, which went for about 5 hours. It was crazy. But it paid off, as we won and/or placed in the top 3 my whole cheer career. In the Catholic Leagues, we were known for our precision. We won the CL title my freshmen year. It was our 3rd or 4th consecutive title. We’d won several titles in the 80s as well. We were a small school, but cheerleading was LIT! The coach they had back then was just the bomb. She left when I started high school (pity). BUT my coach cheered under that coach, so we were able to carry on winning. 🙂

Cheerleading allowed me to come out of my shy shell since clearly we had to perform in front of a lot of people. We performed at home and away boys basketball games, home girls basketball games and home/away football games. We’d perform on the sidelines and usually do a halftime cheer, which gave us the chance to showcase the cheers we were working on for competitions. We did stunts (my team called them “mounts”), for our competitive routines, which meant hoisting girls up onto shoulders or in our hands. I was a “base” that held the “tops” up like in this example: cheerleaderspic-1-900x675

I was a base because I wasn’t petite enough to be a top. But my senior year, I became a top. By that time, we just didn’t have many smaller girls (only 1 at the time) to be on top, so I was chosen, along with another one of my teammates/friends. One of my favorite stunts was a split mount, which is where I was held up in the splits like this example:


Yes, I was quite talented. 🙂 Oh, and since I could jump very high back, I didn’t need a lot of assistance to get up into a stunt. #bragging #nothumble #IWasReallyGood 

Cheerleading was a big part of my life back then. When I went to college, I missed cheering a LOT. During welcome week, I went to an event and the cheerleaders were there. I approached one and asked about try-outs. She told me the one thing they did in try-outs was tumble (gymnastics) and I didn’t do that. She tried reassuring me by saying they could teach girls if they made the team. But I had already been there, done that. So my hopes of cheering in college were dashed. Oh, that reminds me… I took gymnastics lessons! My freshmen year, our coach (who also coached me in 8th grade) decided some of us should take gymnastics lessons. About four of us went, myself included, to specifically try to learn a back handspring:


but none of us could pick it up. Later on, we also got a private coach that came to our practices. We ended up having trouble with the guy though…he showed up late or wouldn’t show at all. Needless to say, that didn’t work out. Honestly, at 15-16 years old, our flexibility to do that stuff was just not there. I could barely do a solid back bend! This is why gymnasts start at age 3. We were all a liiiiittle late to the game. *lol*

In addition to cheering, I ran track one year. I got a bronze medal in the 100 meter hurdles during Catholic Leagues (huge meet with twenty-some Catholic schools). I barely got that medal. The girl in the lane next to me kept kicking her hurdle. So distracting, but I got a medal. I also ran the 400 m hurdles and did long jump. OH, and we would sometimes do relays. Most schools didn’t have relay teams, but if they did, we’d participate. It was weird. Our school wasn’t a track team by any means. And most of the schools in our division weren’t either. *lol* It was something a few us did between cheerleading to stay in shape. And it was something for the football players to do to stay in shape/prep for football. We were such a joke as a team, but at the same time, we won some meets because we had a little more heart than other teams in our division. It all worked out well.

*sigh* The good old days 🙂

Next post, I’ll talk about my first boyfriend. It will be quite the story. *lol*



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