Cheerleading. Behind the immaculate uniforms and pretty pom poms is a sport that requires much strength and practice. A sport that not only cheers on their team and shows spirit but inspires pride amongst thousands of people.
Meet Hannah Andral, cheer captain at Lincoln High School in Seattle. As cheer captain, Hannah has many responsibilities. She has to manage her team and help create a new program at lincoln. Lincoln high school started earlier this year with no juniors or seniors. As a result many students had to make up for the loss of its population. Ever since she was little, Hannah knew she wanted to do something that had to do with dance. Although she was never put into dance, she always wanted to pursue a passion related to it. As high school approached, she decided to do cheer and as a result became the cheer captain as just a sophomore.
I like singing, swimming and cheering. I have always liked dancing and gymnastics. I did gymnastics when I was nine and I lived it. I’ve always wanted to dance but my mom did not put me in dance.
Hannah is Carribean-American. Her grandparents and dad were both born in Haiti but started lives in the bustling city of New York. Hannah has been fortunate enough to not face any discrimination in the cheer community.
I can’t say that I have personal faced discrimination in the cheer community.
Nonetheless, she has heard of various discrimination stories that hit way too close to home. One she specifically pointed out that took place just a couple miles down the road from her high school. At the prestigious University of Washington.
I have heard of a couple incidents like a coach kicking off two black cheerleaders from the UW
team to make room for two new white ones.
The two black cheerleaders were veterans and when UW asked their 14 veteran members to return, 2 were visibly left off the roster. Both were the only black cheerleaders on the team. They then proceeded to replace the 2 black members with 2 completely inexperienced members that were white. This is just one in many stories of racism and discrimnation in our society. Too many to count that to some it just becomes another story. But no it is not just another story. Hannah writes this in response to hearing about what happened:
I am glad this situation came to light because now people can know there is racism and injustices happening everywhere and with everything.
It makes us realize how we are so blind to the racist injustices in our society.
Outlining Hannah’s words, it is everywhere and incorporated into everything. Racism has been surrounding us like the air we breathe. It provides freedom to some groups and suffocates others. If we can change the dynamics of the air, just like the premeditated stereotypes about races, everyone would be able to prosper and live without fear. Of course this world will never be perfect. There are always going to be problems, pain, and suffering. But how about we try to become close to perfect. If we can change the way people think or make people realize. That is one step closer to “close to perfect.”
Despite being unable to practice cheer with her team, Hannah has found motivation in working with one friend. This creates a healthy competition between each other to become better. Quarantine has given Hannah a chance to reach new heights and become not just better than others, but a better version of herself.
I encourage others to find workout partners so they feel more pressure to work out. I also urge people to look into the future. Tons of people won’t be exercising and will be worse at the sport when things open back up. But if you stay practising, you can surpass people you may not have been able to pre-quarantine.