The life of a “Cheerico”

The life of a

Mercedes Bugg

Caraline Means, Activities & Student Life Editor

Being a Varsity Cheerleader, I understand how hectic life can get. Between balancing practice times and games, to pep rallies and what uniform or bow to wear, it can get pretty confusing. Thank God for texts from our captain and coach reminding us of the next day’s details. Adding schoolwork, clubs, and other little extracurricular activities to this mix raises the stress level to almost unbearable and leaves close to absolutely no time for your social life. So what happens when you add in something as big as being on the drill team? Payton Simpson spoke to me about her life as a “Cheerico.”

The first struggle is the lack of enough hours in a day. Calicos practice every morning from 7:00 or 7:30 until 8:30. Keep in mind the fact that the bell rings at 8:51, leaving about twenty minutes to get ready. Any girl would agree with me that twenty minutes is not nearly enough time to change clothes, fix your hair, and do your makeup at a relaxed pace. Guys, you might not understand the big deal of all this, (or at least I would hope you wouldn’t), but I think I speak for more than just myself when I say that if my hair isn’t perfectly straight or my mascara is smudged underneath my eyes, it just starts my day on the wrong foot. The stress level has obviously been raised at this point. After Calico practice, Payton would carry on with her schedule but instead of having another elective or class for eighth period class, Payton has yet another practice period. Cheer lasts from when the eighth period bell rings at 2:13 till 3:10-4:00, depending on the day, and consists of as much stunting, tumbling, jumping, and, of course, cheering as can be fit into that time period. By the time Payton leaves school, she’s beyond worn out and ready for a shower and a nap. Unfortunately, being in all Pre-AP classes, homework comes first, and by the time she completes her studying, there’s only a few hours left until it’s time to wake up and do it all over again.

And then there’s game day, when the stress level goes through the roof. Cheerleaders are required to be on the field an hour before the kickoff to warm up everything that they’re planning on showcasing during the game, which doesn’t seem too challenging until you realize that Calicos are required to be there at the same exact time to rehearse their halftime performance. Remembering multiple 8-counts and their motions for cheer alone is strenuous to begin with, and combining that with a whole dance full of counts and motions can get pretty confusing. More chaotic than their pregame rehearsals though, is what happens seven minutes before halftime. To save a few seconds, Cheericos have their Calico makeup, excluding the bright red lipstick, already done before they begin cheering, which gives them just enough time to change from their Cheer uniform into their Calico one, run down to the field, briefly review their routines, and perform, only to reverse this process and return to their chant line before the third quarter begins. At this point, I’m pretty sure I would have passed out or my head would have exploded if I were in their position.

There’s only one method behind this madness. She’s got to be crazy, right? Wrong. She actually loves it! Dancing since she was two, and cheering since age four, Payton has developed a passion for both activities, and says that choosing a favorite of the two would be impossible. According to Payton, “It gets pretty crazy. I have to work really hard to stay focused and keep my priorities straight. At the end of the day, I’m beyond exhausted, but when I think of the cause of this and realize that it’s the things I love, it’s definitely worth it to me.” With that being said, the life of a Cheerico may be tough, but it’s certainly rewarding to those who take a special interest in both dancing and cheering.