JC does sports: Cheerleading

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JC does sports: Cheerleading

Sports editor JC Canicosa tries out the sport of cheerleading. Certainly, this can only go well.

Sports editor JC Canicosa tries out the sport of cheerleading. Certainly, this can only go well.

Tri Le

Sports editor JC Canicosa tries out the sport of cheerleading. Certainly, this can only go well.

Tri Le

Tri Le

Sports editor JC Canicosa tries out the sport of cheerleading. Certainly, this can only go well.

Jc Canicosa

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Walking into cheerleading practice in the University Sports Complex Friday morning, I remember thinking that this may be a relatively lax episode of “JC does sports.” Oh boy, was I wrong.

My first clue were my attempts at the “warm-up” stretches that the team did to start off practice. Half of them involved contorting my body in ways that I had only seen people do on television or on stage. While the rest of the team was effortlessly bringing their feet to their head or pulling off full-on splits, I was feverishly pushing the limits of my body’s flexibility, and almost touched my toes.

From there, things didn’t get much easier. The team moved on to what was called the “extension drill,” which is a drill where the base cheerleaders lift and support a flyer cheerleader while all maintain perfect balance. I was positioned as a base cheerleader, and couldn’t help but feel a little nervous trying this stunt, as I was about to thrust a person into the air and balance her on the fingers and palms of my hands.

It’s safe to say that a lot more goes into springing and balancing a person on your hands than meets the eye, which is a lesson that I quickly learned around the third or fourth time that I mistimed a dip or lifted the flyer too high and I landed on my butt.

But as we moved to other drills such as the “pancake stunt” or the “liberty stunt” and got more repetitions in, my movements gradually grew smoother and more effortless. My dips were cleaner. My timing was more rhythmic. My throws were more fluid. Slowly, I was learning how to become a full-fledged cheerleader.

And by the end, I was so eager to join the cheerleading team, I felt like I could start waking up at 6:30 every morning and somersault into some full-on splits.

But in all seriousness, cheerleading is a fun, challenging team-oriented sport to be a part of. It definitely takes more than one practice in order to get the timing and balance right for each stunt.

And though Loyola’s cheerleading team does a phenomenal job of making mid-air splits into a human pyramid look so easy, it’s only because the team has done dozens and dozens of repetitions of the stunt in order to do so.

I gained a lot of respect for how hard the Wolf Pack works in mastering such dynamic gymnastics stunts. Led by Rickey Hill, head cheerleading coach, the sky’s the limit for the Wolf Pack’s cheerleading team.

Rating: 4/5 standing backflips

Verdict: Somewhere between the Jabbawockeez and High School Musical…

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