As, a former all-star, high school, and college cheerleader and current all-star cheer coach, when I heard Netflix was coming out with a docu-series on cheerleading, I CRINGED. This has been done before, and each time the “cheer world” has gotten so much backlash and criticism. In the past, it was always drama-filled series and showed a lot of negatives. But this time, Netflix got it right. I started all-star cheer in the 6th grade at Louisiana Cheer Force, right here in Baton Rouge and cheered with LACF, then cheered at St. Joseph’s Academy until I went to college and continued my cheer “career” at Southeastern all while coaching at the gym that taught me everything I know.
Netflix’s Cheer is a true reflection of how hard these athletes work and train to be on a competitive All-Star team. Lots of these athletes start a very young age to reach the level of talent and experience by college. They endure lots of pain and it is not easy.
I have had lots of inquiries from people about getting their kids in cheerleading but just know these few things first:
- It is a true COMMITMENT – practices are multiple times a week for hours at a time, not including private lessons and tumbling classes the athlete decides to take. There will be events that your athlete and family may miss because of practices or traveling for competitions.
- You may win some but you WILL lose some – these kids work day in and day out to perfect their skills but keep in mind, every competition will not be a win and that is okay. We don’t groom our kids in the program to win, we groom them to work hard for their team and do their best. Even though it is really fun to win!
- It is not easy – Long practices, extra practices, and hard practices. There may be some tears throughout the season but at the end of the season, it will be so worth it, I promise.
Cheerleading honestly shaped me as the person I am today. My cheer coaches are still apart of my life, some of my teammates are still close with me today and some of us still coach together. I had my real-life “Monica” and her name is Rachael Pearson, the owner of LACF. She was my coach back in 6th grade and to this day she is not only a boss but a mentor. These aren’t just friends this is FAMILY — my cheer family. We attend each other’s baby showers, weddings, births, and so many more important life events even 10+ years later. So just be aware, if you join this sport, you aren’t just in for makeup, competitions and cute uniforms, you will develop lifelong friends and family as well as shaping me into the hard worker I am today.