Cheer netflix

The Show All Cheerleaders Have Been Waiting For: ‘Cheer’

Finally—a show on Netflix about cheerleading that people actually watch and one that accurately depicts the competitive sport.

I cheered both competitively and for my school since sixth grade. Through this, I was able to meet some inspiring “cheerlebrities” like Gabi Butler and La'Darius Marshall (two of the cheerleaders on "Cheer."

Gabi Butler had always been a huge inspiration of mine mainly because of her insane flexibility and amazing skills in the air. I am blessed I had the chance to meet her at Cheerleading Worlds in 2014. La'Darius, on the other hand, I had the privilege of meeting at my cheer gym’s open gym night. He took the extra time to connect with me and really show me what I needed to improve on to land my running full on the tumble track. With his help and guidance, I was able to put the pieces together and land my full within minutes. He was such an encouragement, and I am so glad he was able to stay local to the area and continue to guide me throughout the many cheer gyms I went to.

OK, enough about me. I’m ready to talk about cheerleading.

I am so happy to finally see a positive focus on cheerleading on television, and I am sure many other cheerleaders are happy as well. This show accurately illustrates the amount of hard work that cheerleaders put in each and every day to nail their routines. Cheerleaders work just as hard as any other athlete to make sure they are keeping up with their skills. It isn’t a sport one just “don’t show up to” when they don’t feel like it. The team relies on each and every member to be present for stunts and pyramids. The team is like a puzzle, and the puzzle cannot be completed if not all of the pieces are present. Therefore, it is crucial that cheerleaders set aside time for practice, so they don’t let their teammates down.

It is common to see people call cheerleaders terms such as “sluts,” “ditzy,” “popular” and “dumb.” These words just speak to the millions of television dramas featuring the stereotypical cheerleader wearing her uniform around school and only talking with other cheerleaders or her super hot quarterback boyfriend. As a competitive cheerleader myself, I can testify that this portrayal is far from correct.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Not once has a television series depicted the sport the way it really is until "Cheer" was released. This series specifically focused on Navarro College, which is a small junior college in Corsicana, Texas. The Bulldogs cheerleading program won 14 NCA national championships through long hour commitments, occasional twice-a-day practices and drill-like coaching techniques that push the athletes past their breaking points.

“Whoever said let’s take two people and a back spot and chuck someone into the air and see how many times they can spin, how many times they can flip? That person is psychotic. But yeah, I’m the crazy person because I’m the one who does it,” Morgan Simianer said, who is one of the Navarro cheerleaders.

This show also demonstrates how transformative cheerleading can be to some. Navarro’s cheer team consists of athletes of all backgrounds, races, sexualities, classes and genders. Going to practice each and every day, these athletes were able to learn about themselves in a way like no other and craft their own identities. The role that cheerleading plays is so complex, and it gave these athletes the opportunity to see the difference they make in the world and how they are able to fit into it.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Cheer" is ultimately the story of how athletes find their families in their team bound by the ultimate goal of coming out on top at the national championship.

For example, in this series, we learn about a boy named Jerry Harris. He is an affirmation-giving, encouraging and loving friend. Although his spirit remains high and he is always hyping up his teammates, there are a lot of factors in his background that are absolutely heartbreaking. Losing his mother to cancer at a young age and having to tackle poverty, he grew up facing many tragedies and had to find his independence rather quickly. When joining the Navarro team, Jerry was nurtured by his teammates and coaches, and this new family of his was able to turn his heartbreak into happiness. His heart is so big, and he never fails to share his constant positivity and love with others.

Now, I don’t want to give away any spoilers; you will just have to binge the show yourself to see! But I will say that athletes like La'Darius who opened up to the production crew about his traumatic childhood experiences allowed him to connect with his family on a deeper level than ever before.

“They were learning stuff about me that they did not know," he said.

He said his mom called and said something along the lines of “I’m so proud of you. I never knew how strong you really were or what you were really going through until I saw it on camera.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“After the show, I felt so much better because I got away from all my chains,” La'Darius said. “I felt like I was being held down, and I felt like I was finally free that I could fly.”

Cheerleading is not just some pompom holding, rah-rah chanting hobby. It is a fiercely competitive sport that relies on teamwork, dedication and consistency. "Cheer," the Netflix original, is so much more than just another form of entertainment in today’s society. It's another way to express how the sport can be used as an outlet by some athletes to get away from the chaos of life.