Hey guys! It’s Ryan Martin and I just started my senior year cheering for the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama! There is NOTHING like cheering a game under the lights of Bryant-Denny Stadium and I am so sad that my last year is flying by so quickly!
Before the game this past weekend, our cheerleading program had a family lunch for all of the cheerleaders and our families. This is the first time someone from my family has been able to make the trip down for the lunch. My dad and his friend woke up at 3 am just to get there in time and I was very grateful! It was so much fun to hang out with our teammates, meet their families and see everyone all dressed up instead of practice clothes!
PEP-RALLIES/ ELEPHANT STOMP
After lunch, we headed back home to get ready for the game! Game day for an Alabama cheerleader begins three hours before kickoff with a pep rally on the steps of Gorgas library on the Quad. During the pep rally we perform the fight song, several band chants and some of our favorite cheers. It so much fun to walk around the Quad where everyone tailgates and meet and take pictures with all of the fans. This week I met an adorable little girl named Lauren who plans on cheering for the Tide when she grows up! After the pep rally is finished, it’s time for the Elephant Stomp. This is where the cheerleaders and the band follow Big Al into the stadium-cheering the whole way!
THE WALK OF CHAMPIONS
The Walk of Champions is another exciting tradition here at Alabama. We have a HUGE crowd that lines up in front of the stadium to cheer on our team as they make their way into Bryant-Denny. We stand in front of the crowd and lead a few cheers before Coach Nick Saban and his team arrives. After the team has passed, we follow right behind them into the stadium to get ready for the game! We take a few minutes to set up our signs for pregame, warm up stunts, pyramids and baskets and then it’s time for us to take the field.
Our pregame performance is one of my favorite parts of gameday at Alabama. We lead a crowd of over 100,000 people in “B-A-M-A, Bama all the way”, “It’s great to be from Alabama” and the BEST part- Alabama across the field followed by a big “ROLL TIDE”! After these three cheers, each cheerleading team runs to their designated end zone to perform the fight song, the Big Bama Spell out, and two other traditional band chants. After ALL of this you probably think we’re done, right? Think again! As soon as we finish up in our end zone, the Crimson squad runs down to meet the White squad in their end zone. Here, we perform the National Anthem and prepare to run the team out on the field. Coach Nick Saban stands two feet from us as we wait for “the signal” to start sprinting down the field!
After running the Tide out on the field, each team takes their sideline and prepares for kickoff! My squad did an AWESOME job this game. Even though it was a smaller game for us against the Mean Green from North Texas, we still were able to get the crowd up on their feet until the very end. We also did a great job with all of our skills during the game and shout out to my partner Clay, who is doing so well that you can’t even tell he is a freshman!
Cheering on the Tide for four quarters is one of the greatest, but most exhausting things I have ever done. We are constantly on our feet encouraging the crowd to yell with us by performing skills, high kicks, two steps and more! After scoring 41 points and performing the fight song EVERY time we scored, I was more than ready for bed when the time ran out on the clock! At the end of every victory, we perform the “Rammer Jammer” cheer and the fight song one last time then wave goodbye to the fans as the announcer’s voice echoes in Bryant-Denny – “THIS IS ALABAMA FOOTBALL!”
Next week we open Southeastern Conference play when the Razorbacks from the University of Arkansas come to town and I am counting down the hours already until I get to do ALL of this again! Until next Saturday, ROLL TIDE!!