A work of fiction by Fatima Martinez
Everyone wants the cheerleaders to sit at their table during lunch, but I mean come on we only sit with the cool people. We don’t want to be seen as the people who sit with whoever during lunch, that’s just morally wrong. “You can’t sit with us,” unless of course you’re part of the cheerleading team, a dancer or a jock. Party invites just won’t stop, “we could use some entertainment,” ending it with a wink, oh yeah it’s going down tonight. Every party needs a cheerleader to pep it up, if you know what I mean. No Latinas allowed here, if you have blond hair, or a brunette and you have white skin and blue or green eyes, you’re immediately accepted into the team. Spandex, sports bras, $200 shoes, shape up our practice, bringing home 1st place every year, or at least buying a trophy to look like we’re not a waste of money. We’re the cool, popular ones, everyone calls us snobby but those are the people who can’t sit with us at lunch, those are the people who are jealous that we get to wear our team uniforms to school every day. Shorter as the days go by of course, we don’t want the jocks to get tired of us and forget what we got, don’t mess with us.
Haha, scratch that everything I just said is just what cheerleaders are stereotyped for, it was all a lie, that’s just what the media portrays. At least at Bullworth Academy, the cheerleaders are nothing here, they don’t care about us. You looking for the hot girls who will hook up with you? Oops, wrong side of the school. Boys spying into our practice to see us in spandex, ha, yeah right. The girls who wear spandex during practice are the volleyball players. In fact our practices consist of big, bulky sweatpants, over-sized shirts full of sweat and let’s not forget the body odor that we leave behind. Talking about practice, those are always fun, especially when 3 girl’s menstrual cycle land on the same week, woo don’t want to miss that week of practice. The first practices, or “camp” as we like to call it brings out a lot of veteran cheerleaders or at least cheerleaders who have been doing it since they were in 5th grade. The veteran cheerleaders give you that, who are you and what are you doing here face as soon as you step foot into the gym, always super welcoming. You would expect girls to later on in the year to get along but that never happens, girls on the team just turn into bigger hypocrites as the season goes on, some not all. The ones who are the bigger hypocrites usually quit, in the middle of football season, so no problem there. The problem is after practice, some girls pretend like they don’t know each other. Arabella, the twins Aulani, Aolani, Sadie, Melody, Aurora, Hope, Christelle, Heart, Fernanda, Celeste, Shelly, Erica, Gabie, who are they after practice?
Our rival team, Prince Academy, is one of the only things that can allow the team to bond. Except for team dinner cause duh free food. Let me tell you about them, they are ridiculous, it’s kind of embarrassing to even have them as rivals because they’re like no competition to us. I’m not saying we’re great and all but we’ve been to their games and they do the same 4 cheers, and it’s not like 4 games in the whole game. No, I think that the crowd wishes that it was like that but nope, it’s do a cheer per 20 seconds until the crowd finds them so annoying and has pity towards them that they actually join them, hoping of course that it will mean that they will stop cheering soon. I don’t think that there original, they’re just Bullworth crazy fanatics, they steal everything from us, and I’m not even exaggerating. Our school colors are red and black and our uniform just so happens to consist of that right? In the center of one of our uniforms it says Bullworth and then a hand stitched, customized, bull right by it, we thought it was the coolest thing ever and we wore it each time that we would have a game against them. 2 weeks into the new season, they get a uniform exactly like ours, just that there’s has “royal blue” and gold, and has the word Prince in the center of the uniform, and when we went to go see their games they brought those uniforms out. Like are you serious? I remember in one game my team was cheering and one of the cheerleaders showed up to our game, it wasn’t even against them it was against Florges High. Anyways, so while we were cheering they were taking notes on our cheers, and trust me they have taken like 20 of our cheers but can’t use any of them because they end up forgetting them in a matter of seconds. They have the attention span of a goldfish and the memory of Dory from Finding Nemo.
We were 2 weeks from state, which was on February 7, we had just returned from regionals at Queens and had gotten 3rd place, we were proud but we knew we could have done better. Anyways, we all knew that the next 2 weeks of practice were going to be tough and tiring. We had to try out for state because the coach only wanted the ones who were competitive enough and actually wanted to do better at state. Hope, Christelle and Fernanda were the only ones to not make it on the team, they were our alternates. The coach never mentioned it, but she usually picked the weak ones to have alternates, meaning they were very close to not making it on the team. I was one of the girls who had an alternate, Melanie Del Rosario had an alternate for dance, how pathetic, I had Fernanda as an alternate, she was good, the only reason she didn’t make it on the team was because her left leg kicks were below her waist. Any day she could have replaced me, but she didn’t. There would be days in practice where we had to perform solos of the state routine, you know just to make sure you knew your part. It’s probably the most nerve racking thing a girl can do, the door to the gym would be completely open so anybody who passed by could see you performing alone. It was awkward to be up there by myself, all I could hear was “Melanie smile,” “Melanie look up” like stop talking. Then your alternate would give you comments on the performance and then the coach would follow up with any comments. It got me mad, like why are you judging me I’m the one who made it on the state team. Sometimes girls who messed up every little part of the performance made it on the team like how? Seriously on the videos you could see them constantly messing up or have no rhythm whatsoever, maybe the coach felt bad for them. The day before state we practiced for 2 hours and had to bring our uniforms, shoes and snacks for the team. Ha, I didn’t bring anything, I think 20 boxes of food is good enough to feed 15 girls on a 3 hour bus ride. Getting to state was absolutely nerve racking, the stadium was completely packed, and I had the most difficult time trying to find seats for the team. Since I’m tiny I was able to get around faster and find some seats, then when I did I could call one of them and tell them where I was, cause teamwork. We didn’t compete until Saturday and we got there Friday morning to watch Sypris High perform in the Jazz division, Sypris was a rich boarding school that neighbored us, we weren’t exactly friends but we danced with them so whatever. My best guy friend danced with them, Frankie Rios, he was a hunk. As soon as they finished performing we drove into our hotels, we all had a room with 3 girls in it. I had Arabella and Christelle in my room, super fun, I got my own bed. We got to the hotel and got to shop for like 1 hour and a half and then had to go get ready for dinner. Dinner wasn’t that far away from the hotel, and it’s not like we were going to a fancy restaurant so why would I dress up a lot. After everyone in my room got ready we all went to the lobby and I noticed everybody was wearing heels and I was the only one who was wearing flats…great.
The day of state finally had arrived and we had to wake up at 4 in the morning to get ready because we performed at 8:15am. Gabie had to be the first one to get her hair and make-up done since she had big curly hair and had to do everyone’s eyeliner. All we got to eat was a banana and apple juice, but at that time the last thing on my mind was food. We all had to wait in line like it was some salon. Your hair at the end of everything they do you will hurt. Like it feels like your hair hates you from everything you just put it through. Not even 30 seconds into having my hair up in a bun with gel and hairspray, and millions of bobby pins I already want to take it out. It literally hurts to even put your head back because of the pain it causes in the roots of your hair. Then the uniforms we had to wear were white, like ha if anyone is on their period then you have got to wear something big because we don’t want any blood stains. We ended up getting everything we had to the bus and be on the road to state, for once the bus was completely quiet because we were all trying to mentally prepare ourselves for state. Getting to the arena was absolutely nerve racking, as soon as you stepped foot inside and they said Basalt High School so we could go and stretch your hair just stood up. Then we had to take a picture, a team picture of course, we all had that “I’m smiling cause you’re scaring me,” face. The people who would lead us on to stage were being super friendly and tried to get your mind off state. But it’s impossible like we were 2 minutes from performing. We saw the cheerleaders from Prince with their iPads, laughing. Like really? Look at where you are and then look at where I am. I’m the one about to perform at state, while you guys can’t afford to go to state and don’t have the experience to. They finally told us, “well good luck girls we’ll be watching you guys from the stands. If you step this way we will escort you to the dance floor.” There was a cheerleading team finishing their performance and we had to sit in our formations for what seemed to be hours. Prince was even able to pull out their iPads again and take a video of our performance, “to observe” Next thing we knew they said “Now performing Basalt High school” and the music started immediately. I thought that we had done the bomb diggidy after we performed. Everybody was so happy,, we were crying and hugging and each other and just absolutely proud of ourselves. State magic, it can either screw you over or help you like it helped us.
In reality, there’s nothing really secret about being a cheerleader. The media just makes them look like snobby people, when they can be really nice people. Cheerleading helps people overcome their fears, for me it helped me overcome my fear of talking in front of a class. I just have to think of cheerleading and even though there is more people in the crowd than in class it helps me overcome the fear. I can even go up in front of the whole school with a smile on my face and remember the dance. Before, if they put me in front of the school let’s say my freshman year, I would freak out and cry and turn red. Now, it’s really hard for me to get like that, so in a way cheerleading is a way for a shy girl to break out of his or her shell. It’s a big commitment to be in the cheerleading team, keeping your grades up, and not getting injured. “I’ve really set high goals for myself. I think cheerleading really taught me that, never settle for second best.” -Maddie Gardner.