The Evolution of NHS Cheerleading
It is a cold November night and the crowd is sitting casually on the bleachers while they watch the football players run across the field. All of the sudden, a group of girls on the sidelines, wearing team colors begin cheering and doing flips. The crowd starts to rumble and cheer, inspiring the football players to victory. Cheerleading is the exciting sport that keeps the crowd on their toes during games. Cheerleading has been a part of NHS for decades.
From the 1950s until today, maroon skirts and pom poms were the essentials the NHS cheer team. But, cheerleading now is much more complex. Breanna DeMatteo is the cheer coach now and she believes that the sports has evolved during the past few decades. DeMatteo has been the cheerleading coach for seven years at NHS.
“Coaching the cheer team is always an adventure,” says Ms. DeMatteo. “Each year is different and special depending on the girls and what they put into their time with us. My favorite part about coaching is just watching the growth; both in skills and in confidence. A lot of the things we do, like stunting and tumbling, take a lot of mental as well as physical strength to get through. One of our favorite quotes is: ‘Feel the fear, do it anyway.’ Watching the girls grow, gain skills, and face their fears as they go through the program is what makes it worth it.”
Ms. DeMatteo has noticed some drastic changes of competition through the years as well.“Competitive cheer has grown so much in the past 10 years,” she states. “The first year we competed was actually my senior year at NHS in 2008. The competitions now are nothing like they were then. Almost everyone has strong routines that they come out with weekly that include elite skills and tumbling. Everyone has stepped up so you really don't know who will win at each competition. It all depends on the week and who hits their routine. If you drop you can't win. One mistake and that's pretty much it for you.”