PDA

View Full Version : Any HS cheerleaders in the house?



underthecity
02-27-2011, 08:40 PM
The MC in my WIP is a HS cheerleader. I would like to ask some questions about cheerleading that really can't be answered by google searches (I've tried).

Anyone?

Rowan
02-27-2011, 11:41 PM
I was a HS cheerleader. Fire away! :)

underthecity
02-28-2011, 01:23 AM
Thank you, Rowan! Here goes.

1. When are cheerleader tryouts usually held? That is, which month?

2. How do tryouts coincide with the HS football season?

3. Which month do football games usually start? (Sept? Oct?)

4. How often is cheerleading practice? Every MWF? Saturdays? How long does it last? One hour?

5. How much practice is there before an actual game? IOW, are they practicing for weeks, THEN there's a football game? Or what?

6. Do they practice continuously during the weeks there's football? Or is there ever a break?

7. Do they go to away games with the football team, like in the same bus?

8. If a cheerleader just cannot remember the moves, is she "removed" from the squad (or whatever they call it)? If so, how does that work?

9. How long, practice and game-wise, would a cheerleader be expected to remember her moves?

10. Regarding #9, if she can't seem to get the moves down by game time, is she exempted from attending the game, or does she go anyway and sit there or whatever?

11. Is she a cheerleader the entire year? Or just the first semester? How long does it last? Or is it forever?

12. If she's a cheerleader for football, does she automatically cheer for basketball too, or do they have separate cheerleaders for each sport?


That's all I can think of for now. Thank you!

WriteKnight
02-28-2011, 01:50 AM
I was a cheerleader back in '74. So much has transpired in the system since then. Even at the time, one school's policy was not the same as another.

Tryouts came in the spring - FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR. That is, you tried out in April or May and were selected - or in the case of my High School ELECTED by the student body. Try outs included performing at a 'pep rally' - where the judges/student body got to observe your skills. You did regular 'group' cheers. You also did 'single' cheers. Any acrobatics were included as well. At my High School YOU RAN AS A COUPLE. That is, you and a partner (opposite genderr) ran as a COUPLE. That couple was then selected/elected.

There was a 'spring game' in April or May. This was the JV vs the Varsity. So that was also part of the tryout.

When you won, you spent the summer learning cheers. You might go away to a national cheerleading camp, if you could afford it. (Cue bake sales or car washes to help fund the trip) At camp, 'Pro's' taught you stunts and cheers and you competed for 'the spirit stick' each week. Figure camp was two or three weeks. You practiced ALL DAY LONG - so like eight hours a day. NOTE: Not all schools have male cheerleaders. We were a premium at camp... it was ridiculously... hormonal.

Also, you would practice once or twice a week with your squad if you didn't go to camp, or before or after you got back. Might practice at the school, might practice at a gym/park/community center. I recall practice sessions being about two hours.

By the time the school season rolled around, you had already learned a half dozen cheers and routines or so.

In Texas, the first football game of the season came up pretty fast. In the second or third week of school it seems like. Mid September for sure. Depends on the size of the school, the number of opponents, etc.

After football season, we would also attend and cheer at basketball games, and baseball games.

Cheerleading counted as a credit, like PE. So you had a "CHEERLEADING" hour each day instead of PE. This is where you would practice, learn new routines, write skits for the pep rally each week.

Pep rallies took place in the morning, BEFORE SCHOOL started usually. Our games were almost all on FRIDAY NIGHTS. So rally in the morning - big game that evening. Occasionally games were on Saturday nights - Pep rallies were on friday afternoons in that case.

"Away games" were usually held at different schools - we simply drove there. Sometimes we carpooled together. Never rode the team bus, but I can see how that might work too.

If you couldn't 'do' a routine - you were 'helped' to learn it. Peer pressure works wonders. If you couldn't 'do' a particular physical stunt, you were written out/or written around it. If you couldn't flip, you were 'base' - that sort of thing.

That's pretty much the way I remember it. But again, different schools might have different routines. You have some flexibility in how you structure your story.

backslashbaby
02-28-2011, 02:19 AM
I wasn't a cheerleader, but we practiced right next to each other, performed at the same time, etc. I was kick team (halftime and pep rally entertainment). Cheerleaders switched to our squad and vice versa from year to year, so you heard a lot about cheering, too.


1. When are cheerleader tryouts usually held? That is, which month?

Last month of the previous school year. May or June.

2. How do tryouts coincide with the HS football season?

Way before it.

3. Which month do football games usually start? (Sept? Oct?)
Late August or September in my school district.

4. How often is cheerleading practice? Every MWF? Saturdays? How long does it last? One hour?

Every school day, except cheerleaders didn't practice on game night (Friday), I don't think. They may run through a few things. We never saw them, so I'm thinking no gameday practice.

We were out there from after school (2:30ish to start stretching, really starts at 2:45) to 5:30 or 6. They left about an hour earlier than we did.

5. How much practice is there before an actual game? IOW, are they practicing for weeks, THEN there's a football game? Or what?

They didn't seem to do a lot of new cheers. They did new routines completly for pep rallies, about once a month. Of course, they had some new cheers and things for games, but it didn't seem like a set schedule on that.

6. Do they practice continuously during the weeks there's football? Or is there ever a break?

No break.

7. Do they go to away games with the football team, like in the same bus?

Yes. A large squad might not fit, though. We had our own bus because we were 42 girls and our mascots.

8. If a cheerleader just cannot remember the moves, is she "removed" from the squad (or whatever they call it)? If so, how does that work?

Yep. Just kicked off, after the faculty sponsor agrees. It rarely happens.

9. How long, practice and game-wise, would a cheerleader be expected to remember her moves?

All the time. If it was a move from some other year, probably no.

10. Regarding #9, if she can't seem to get the moves down by game time, is she exempted from attending the game, or does she go anyway and sit there or whatever?

I've never seen anyone sit out except for an injury. We had one cheerleader who kept screwing up who did perform, and she was just kicked off after a bit.

11. Is she a cheerleader the entire year? Or just the first semester? How long does it last? Or is it forever?

All year. Tryouts again in the spring.

12. If she's a cheerleader for football, does she automatically cheer for basketball too, or do they have separate cheerleaders for each sport?

Same cheerleaders, all year. Ours did a few soccer games, too.

There is a very long summer practice, and man did those girls have to run a ton! We had to march, dance, kick (forever) and do exercises, but those girls were running for hours. Those weeks are very long days, like 8:30 to 2:30 or something. I can't quite remember, but it's sweltering and 'all day,' basically.

eta: basketball season had games on Tuesdays and Fridays, btw. It just changes the schedules up a bit because of more gamedays. My team (kick) tried to learn 2 routines each week instead of 1 so we'd still be new for each game, so it was a noticeable difference. Cheerleading probably bumped up the skillset then as well.

Rowan
02-28-2011, 02:44 AM
Okay, here goes: :)


Thank you, Rowan! Here goes.

1. When are cheerleader tryouts usually held? That is, which month?
It varies by school. I was a football cheerleader and we had to try out at the end of the school year (April/May) and then we had Summer camp to compete and prepare for the Fall football season. I think the basketball cheerleaders tried out at the same time though.
2. How do tryouts coincide with the HS football season?
See above. :)
3. Which month do football games usually start? (Sept? Oct?)
September (You can also have a game the last week in August too depending on when school starts.)
4. How often is cheerleading practice? Every MWF? Saturdays? How long does it last? One hour?
We practiced every day after school--usually an hour or so.
5. How much practice is there before an actual game? IOW, are they practicing for weeks, THEN there's a football game? Or what?
Games were Friday nights, so the week leading up to it was practice.
6. Do they practice continuously during the weeks there's football? Or is there ever a break?
We practiced pretty much all the time, but we did have the occasional break--in the form of a fundraiser like a car wash or whatever. :) You have a lot of flexibility here.
7. Do they go to away games with the football team, like in the same bus?
Yes, we went to away games on the same bus.
8. If a cheerleader just cannot remember the moves, is she "removed" from the squad (or whatever they call it)? If so, how does that work?
Wow, that depends on the number of cheerleaders and if this person is, for lack of a better word, 'expendable'. Remember, cheerleading is considered a sport just like football, wrestling, basketball, lacrosse. If you don't measure up or have disciplinary issues, you can be removed or put on probation, etc. It's up to the Captain usually and of course, the coach and school officials if a disciplinary case.
9. How long, practice and game-wise, would a cheerleader be expected to remember her moves?
You must know the routines--again, think football players and the play book. They have to know them all season, right? So do cheerleaders. Most are learned during Summer camp and competition and different cheers are used at the games. Of course, a Captain might introduce a new routine during practice and you're expected to learn it and remember it.
10. Regarding #9, if she can't seem to get the moves down by game time, is she exempted from attending the game, or does she go anyway and sit there or whatever?
She would likely dress out (ie., wear her uniform on game day) and sit on the sideline during that cheer (with injured cheerleaders or whatever). We had injured cheerleaders and they'd dress out and sit out, if that makes sense. They still walked the line and cheered (just didn't participate in the actual routines). She could participate in the other routines--the ones she knows. ETA: I didn't encounter this so I'm really not sure re: the protocol. I'm thinking you can do pretty much what works for your character and the plot if you justify it.
11. Is she a cheerleader the entire year? Or just the first semester? How long does it last? Or is it forever?
My school had separate squads for football and basketball. Not sure why, but we did.
12. If she's a cheerleader for football, does she automatically cheer for basketball too, or do they have separate cheerleaders for each sport?
See above. Some schools likely have same squads for both--or girls who cheer on both.

That's all I can think of for now. Thank you!

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have additional questions.

The most important thing to remember: cheerleading is considered a sport and the same rules apply. So if a football player is expected to know the plays, a cheerleader is expected to know the routines. Tryouts can be rough--as is camp. It's physically demanding. You've got to be in shape and you also have to maintain a certain GPA (just like with other sports).

This is my personal experience and I'm sure it differs by school.

backslashbaby
02-28-2011, 03:49 AM
And heads of squads can be every bit as demanding as coaches you might have seen. We had the wind pick up abruptly, the rain start crashing down (we were on a huge columned porch due to weather) and they said, 'We're finishing this run-through'. The tornado siren went off, and all they said was, 'It's not much longer; don't you dare think of leaving!' Meh, it was only a few more 8 counts.

Lil
02-28-2011, 05:49 AM
I might add that in some schools, cheerleading qualifies as an official sport, with varsity and junior varsity squads. They also meet in competitions. This is serious stuff, with lots of gymnastics. We are not talking bimbos with a crush on the football hero.

Kitti
02-28-2011, 07:59 AM
I might add that in some schools, cheerleading qualifies as an official sport, with varsity and junior varsity squads. They also meet in competitions. This is serious stuff, with lots of gymnastics.

Yes - we had freshman (everyone got in), JV and Varsity teams, which followed the same schedule as all the other athletics (Fall, Winter and Spring seasons). Most of the girls on the gymnastics team with me were also cheerleaders but IIRC they only did cheerleading in the Fall & Spring (as in the Winter they were doing gymnastics and I think we were officially not allowed to be on two different teams in the same season.)

Rowan
02-28-2011, 03:12 PM
Yeah, that's what us previous posters said, that cheerleading is considered a sport; it's demanding with competitions, etc. etc. etc. ;)

underthecity
03-01-2011, 01:59 AM
Thanks everyone for the helpful answers. I think that just about covers everything I needed to know . . .

EXCEPT:

I forgot that I also need to know these things:

When are cheerleader competitions? Are they during the regular football season, or between seasons?

Say the MC is at a football game cheerleading. There's something medically wrong with her and she collapses during a cheerleading routine.

Does the game and everything else stop? Are there medics or EMTs or anything on hand? I've heard they have an ambulance at a game. Is this true?

Is she taken to a hospital, then the game resumes?

backslashbaby
03-01-2011, 02:13 AM
I don't know when competitions are; our cheerleading and similar squads had to pay for everything from uniforms to travel by ourselves, so we never went. (Actually, they did gives us our letters and the sports banquet dinner once a year).

That might have changed in more recent years.

I've never seen an ambulance at a game, but there are so many more 'protect the children' laws that high school games may have them now to avoid lawsuits.

I don't know that the game would stop for long, or at all if we're talking football. We had thousands of spectators, in a big ole stadium. Certainly, the cheerleaders wouldn't cheer, but the game would probably continue. Basketball was such a smaller venue, I could see the game being on hold.

This stuff is different in different places, as folks have mentioned :)

eta: where I come from, a medical town, parents mean lots of doctors, nurses, etc, lol. Cheerleader parents may mean more doctors than the average population wherever you are. Someone in the crowd will help immediately in a medical situation. Folks really did have medical bags in their cars.

Rowan
03-01-2011, 03:48 AM
I'll try and answer! :)


Thanks everyone for the helpful answers. I think that just about covers everything I needed to know . . .

EXCEPT:

I forgot that I also need to know these things:

When are cheerleader competitions? Are they during the regular football season, or between seasons? During Summer camp (for me, anyway)--held at the end of the camp.

Say the MC is at a football game cheerleading. There's something medically wrong with her and she collapses during a cheerleading routine.

Does the game and everything else stop? Are there medics or EMTs or anything on hand? I've heard they have an ambulance at a game. Is this true? There are athletic trainers on hand and sometimes an EMT present at games. Game doesn't stop per se, unless a player is injured. We had a girl get injured once (she fell off a pyramid), and they quietly removed her from the "field" and tended to her. Your larger schools most likely do have an ambulance on stand-by at the games, much like the pro's and college ball.

Is she taken to a hospital, then the game resumes? I doubt they'd stop the game. If she collapsed or hit her head, I predict a hospital visit (concussion, etc.). Better safe than sorry being the name of the game!

BarbaraKE
03-01-2011, 02:05 PM
I'd also like to point out that the size of the school, its location, and the year you're talking about makes a huge difference.

I was a HS cheerleader in '76 at a small rural school in Upstate NY. I suspect the 'small' part is what made the difference but maybe times have changed too. In any case, being on a sports team (which cheerleading was considered) was not the huge deal it is now in many places. No year-round practice, no going to special camps, etc. etc.

But it was a heck of a lot of fun.

Kitti
03-02-2011, 04:58 AM
Ditto what Rowan said - there's always an athletic trainer at the games. Whenever someone got injured, the game would only stop long enough to remove a player. We had a golf cart we could drive onto a field to remove someone who wasn't mobile. Cheerleader's already off the football field, usually, so it wouldn't be an issue. My school (pop. 2000) didn't have an ambulance come to games, but we were pretty close to a hospital so it wouldn't have taken long for an ambulance to get there.