By Lily Moss
Whether it is a football or basketball game at Byram Hills, you can be sure the bleachers are packed. Students and parents alike come to not only watch the intense sporting event but also to see the Byram Hills cheerleaders motivate the crowd with their synchronized cheers and well-choreographed dance moves.
Make no mistake, cheerleading is not all pep and glamor. These girls make it look easy, but behind the scenes, they are practicing over 12 hours a week for not just one season, but two! While the basketball and football players are catching balls weighing less than 3 pounds, cheerleaders are catching humans often weighing more than 100.
Many people don’t realize the dedication and strength required of a cheerleader and the legitimacy of the sport. Though, not your typical sport, consisting of point scoring against another team, the competitive elements of cheerleading are what make it sport-worthy.
Cheerleaders are athletes. Without strong bodies, balance, flexibility, and coordination, they would not be able to perform their stunts and routines. According to Katie Blum a BHHS varsity cheerleader, “we have three-hour practices every day with continuous stunting and tumbling.” There is a great deal of muscular strength and endurance required for this intense sport.
In addition to performing at games, the cheerleaders participate in competitions throughout the county. On January 21st, Byram Hill’s Varsity Cheerleaders took home first place at their very first competition of the season at John Jay High School. On January 25th at The Westchester County Center, sponsored by Byram Hills High School, the Bobcats cheerleaders received second place with Eastchester coming in first.
There is no doubt our cheerleaders know how to pump up a crowd and perform well at competitions. But these girls are true athletes. They train hard, are devoted to their team, and never give up. Sounds like the perfect athlete to me.
*This piece first appeared on allaboutarmonk.com.