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Tiger Tribune

The Student News Site of Granite Falls High School

Tiger Tribune

Cheerleading Exodus

Why has the cheer team become almost nonexistent?
Cheerleading+Exodus

Throughout the 2023-2024 cheerleading season, students of Granite Falls High School have noticed that an alarming amount of members of the cheer team have dropped out and quit such a happy looking activity. What could’ve happened? Cheer is a sport that involves cheering, chanting, and performing for others, mainly to support and encourage sports teams such as football, wrestling, and basketball, to give it their all. While the sport itself is spirited and meant to be uplifting, the GFHS cheerleading team has experienced a huge decline in members in the span of just a few weeks. 13 girls have quit throughout the season, 6 of them having quit directly after football season. With that being said, is it coincidental that so many people quit at the same time?

 

Through questioning ex-cheerleaders, the 2 biggest leading causes of girls quitting the cheer team are: the lack of personal time, and being too exhausted, as well as Inappropriate and rude comments being made towards the cheerleaders, mainly regarding their body types, personalities, and physical endurance through exercises and conditioning.

 

Throughout football season alone, the average cheerleader at GFHS spent about 41 hours at school throughout the week, considering the school day (6 hours), practice time (about 3 hours), and football games every Friday (about 2 hours). This leaves about 79 hours left not counting the weekends, but in those 79 hours, 8 hours are for sleep every school night, which leaves 39 hours throughout the week to eat, do homework, interact with family, do hygiene practices, and for certain students, even work. While sports and extracurriculars are a choice and self commitment, sometimes the burnout from trying to balance school, sports, and home life gets too overbearing. On top of that, student athletes need to maintain good grades in order to participate in sports. Because of this, cheerleaders are conditioned to have proficient time management, and are expected to maintain it throughout the season no matter what. It is much easier said than done, and at the end of the day, cheerleaders are only human, just like the rest of us.

 

As well as this problem, another concern was inappropriate remarks being made towards the student athletes about physical appearance or personalities by the person they looked up to the most: their coach. When it comes to any kind of dancing, cheerleading, or gymnastics, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is self-body image. Worldwide, about 34.4% of cheerleaders either have suffered from eating disorders or are at risk of developing an ED. Why are cheerleaders reported to be so self conscious about their bodies? Well, it is pretty difficult to not think about any of your perceived personal or physical flaws, when it is constantly being shoved in your face. When bringing up questions, it was found that comments were being made from the coaches regarding students bodies and physical appearance (This was not referencing all cheerleaders, it was just a concern by some. Not all cheerleaders are self conscious). This is vastly inappropriate, especially if it is coming from adults and is directed towards children. Hopefully, measures will be taken in the future to prevent this from happening again.

 

Through enduring everything, the cheerleading team this year has become a prime example as to how important it is to have students properly taken care of. As student athletes, it is important to hold up a certain image, seeing how all of the students are the face of Granite Falls High School. At the end of the day, it is better to learn how to prioritize, and do what benefits your mental and physical health. While the choices are different for everyone, for some it may be easier to focus on a few things at a time, and for others it may be better to push yourself to the limits.

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Leighya Knighten, Features Editor
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