Monica Aldama netflix cheer

A Brief Breakdown of the Docuseries “Cheer” and Why it is a Must Watch

While I was scrolling through Netflix during winter break, I came across a new docu-series “Cheer”. Of course, the competitive cheerleader in me was itching to find out more about this. The hype soon took to Twitter in the next few days, but I had come across it right on January 8th, the release date, so I hadn’t heard much about it. So like any cheer-loving, Netflix guru, I grabbed a blanket and binged watched the series from start to finish. 

Since I have a pretty strong background in competitive cheerleading, high school cheerleading, and with the National Cheerleading Association (NCA) I had already heard of Navarro Community College and knew it was a cheerleading powerhouse for years. What I didn’t know was how much Navarro, the coaches, and the community impacted the lives of their athletes. Not only does it give athletes an opportunity to pursue a cheerleading career and gain talent and skills, but it allows individuals to create a family, continue an education, and even enroll in a four-year university after their time at community college. 

The docu-series follows Navarro’s coed team that is coached by the legendary Monica Aldama. She’s a fierce, strong leader; truly a boss of a woman. Following their journey up until college nationals, the show highlights athletes like flyers Gabi Butler, Mackenzie “Sherbs” Sherburn, Morgan Simianer, stunter Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris, and powerhouse tumbler Lexi Brumback. 

For brief definitions, flyers are the athletes who are at the top of the stunts or the girls who get thrown through the air. Stunters, who are commonly the males on a coed team, are the athletes underneath the stunts, making sure the flyer stays in the air and to catch her on the way down. Tumbling is when athletes perform a series of flips and flipping twists, such as back handsprings. 

The show in its entirety completely debunks the standard assumptions and stereotypes associated with cheerleading and yelling on the sideline of football games. Yes, the athletes support their school and participate in football games, but it's way more than that. These athletes leave their homes, move to Texas, and work. They attended multiple workouts and practices a day while putting their bodies through strenuous stunts, flips, and jumps. 

This documentary is so influential because it dives directly into the lives of these athletes. As mentioned previously, most of them pack up their lives and move out to a small town in Texas to continue not only their athletic career but an academic career as well. Navarro gives many of these cheerleaders a second chance, an opportunity to start over, or even a chance to get accepted into a big-name university. Many of the athletes open up about struggles growing up, with their sexuality, and even with their home life. They share how Monica plays the role of a second mother, and how Navarro gives them the comfort of a second home. 

It truly is inspiring from start to finish. Not only does the dedication, drive, and determination of the athletes during the national season get the adrenaline pumping, but all of the stories and experiences shared allow viewers to become completely invested. If you didn’t follow college cheerleading before, you definitely will after watching. And if you did, but didn’t have Navarro as your favorite team, then you definitely will after watching.     

All eyes will be on Navarro Coed Cheer as they head back to NCA College Nationals in early April, hoping to earn another national title. Will the reigning champions be able to come out on top?

All images courtesy of the Her Campus Media Library.