“The definition of a true cheerleader is in the name” – Dakota Schuppe, Caliche High School Cheerleader, Iliff, Colorado
Dakota wrote a column called “It’s a Cheer Thing” for her local newspaper, and it has me doing some serious reminiscing about my cheer background.
I wanted to be a high school cheerleader at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory in Hollywood, Florida, because I wanted to be in the middle of everything. I loved gymnastics, loved being in front of a crowd, and I wanted to be a part of the quintessential high school experience. It wasn’t until I was actually on the sidelines that I realized what I loved even more: being right there to cheer for my friends to do their very best.
Because when you took away the stands and lights and the helmets and the pads, the guys down on the field were just guys I went to school with. And I wanted them to do well.
It took me a while to see it this way. As a college cheerleader at Florida State University, we had occasional contact with the players, but I couldn’t really say I knew them really well. And now, I can’t possible get into watching football on TV – I mean, who are those guys, anyway?
But Dakota has it all figured out.
“We’re here to get our athletes ready and keep them focused, because we don’t love anything more than to see them succeed,” she says. And I totally agree – because it’s this ability to motivate that makes cheerleaders so special…for life.
Today, I work in an office full of cheerleaders. And when we’re “on the field,” tackling a new project or working on a presentation, the motivation that we all generated when we were on the sidelines shows up at the office. It sticks with you, that special something that you have as a cheerleader.
Dakota has it.
— Nicole Lauchaire