Brr! Time to unpack your team warm-ups, windsuits and bodysuits! It’s getting pretty chilly in South Carolina, and I can imagine it’s even colder wherever most of you are! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for cheerleaders it’s the busiest! The funniest question I get asked by my friends in class is, “Cait, are you ready for a nice long Thanksgiving/Christmas break from cheerleading?” Boy, are they confused!
I always tell my family at Thanksgiving that I’m so thankful for the opportunities I get to share with my teammates over the holidays. For Thanksgiving week, we had a huge annual pep rally called Tiger Burn on Monday, a basketball game to cheer Wednesday, a volleyball game to cheer Friday, and of course, our big traditional rival football game against Clemson on Saturday! Go Gamecocks – such a fun game, and we won! What a week!
And don’t count out Christmas break! We get to cheer for our men’s and women’s basketball teams throughout the break, which is fun for us since our teams are off to a great start this season! I know several UCA high school and college cheerleaders who will be working hard over the break, as well, to compete at Nationals very soon! Here are some tips on how to celebrate a holiday season full of cheer with your team!
1) Have any winter practices or games? Plan a big team feast after a game where everyone brings something yummy, and you can make silly superlatives for each of your teammates about what makes you thankful to have them on your team! A dollar store white-elephant gift exchange is always fun, as well!
2) While you’re hard at work making holiday wish lists, start preparing for the new year, and make a list of cheerleading goals you want to accomplish. Try to make goals that will make you a better cheerleader skill-wise as well as the best representative of your team and school that you could possibly be.
3) Get in the gym! Get your stunt group or tumbling buddies together and continue working hard! No team ever benefits from a Lazy Lou, so plan a time to stretch, exercise, and keep up with your skills every day! My stunt partner, Hunter, and I are already planning times to meet, practice and get perfect timing on a couple skills throughout our break.
Most importantly, as you prepare for the holidays, remember to savor every moment you have with your team! I know, personally, that I’m about to finish up my last football season on the sidelines ever, and as sad as that might be, I am so thankful I get to be a teammate, a friend, a representative of my school and a cheerleader for a little while longer! Stay warm, keep working hard, and be thankful to be a cheerleader! Go Cocks!!!