When you think of All Star Cheerleading, you normally think of a jam-packed, fast-paced two minutes and thirty second long performance. The crowd goes wild when the stunts hit, much like a rock concert. No two routines are ever the same, either. This year, the International Open Coed Level 5 team from Top Gun All Stars is showing the latter, and a different side of All Star.
It was an early morning last May in Miami, Florida. Top Gun’s Large Coed team had finished 3rd at the Cheerleading Worlds just three weeks earlier, and the gym had begun training for the next season. First, there was news that Carlos Carerra, a former member of the Large Coed team, was in a car accident and didn’t make it. Two hours later, there was another car accident. This time, one of the athletes who placed 3rd a few weeks earlier was the victim. After a long battle in the hospital, he sadly lost his fight. That athlete’s name is Omar.
Upon hearing the news, thousands in the All Star community poured out their love and support to the families and everyone touched by these amazing athletes. The donations collected were enough to cover the expenses for both Omar and Carlos’ funerals. “It was such a blessing to raise that much money for both families” says Kristen Rosario, owner of Top Gun All Stars.
Omar has become a household name in the All Star world this season, as the team he was excited to be on in 2013 has changed their name from i5 (international 5) to OO5 (Omar’s Open 5) to honor their fallen hero. When the team debuted their routine at the beginning of the season, everyone knew this routine was genuinely special.
Year after year, Top Gun is known for having some of the most innovative choreography in cheerleading. This year, rather than focusing on winning jackets and rings, they used their choreography talent to create the ultimate tribute to the “fallen jags” of Top Gun, honoring those who came before them. Choreographing the routine was a way to cope with the loss for coach Jose Gonzalez. After his brother was also in a separate serious car accident, the entire situation hit home for him. Gonzalez wanted to put a routine on the floor like no one has before.
Each aspect of the routine is its own special homage to those that have passed too soon. From the running tumbling section where the entire team stops for a moment of silence, to the pyramid when the music states the name of each “fallen jag”, you’ll be lucky to find a single dry eye in the house when OO5 takes the floor. “It’s funny because when you are coaching a team that is competing, you want to clap and be happy the entire time. This one is different, and once they get to the pyramid, I can’t help but choke up,” added Rosario.
Everyone deals with loss in different ways, but cheerleading has helped an entire community celebrate the lives of loved ones. Next time you step out on the floor, hug your teammates a little tighter, be thankful for the time you have out there with your best friends, and remember those that stepped on that floor before you.
Watch the video of Top Gun OO5 here: