Four score and seven years ago, I was a cheerleader. Just kidding. It wasn’t that long ago. But from the looks of the current state of my body, it certainly appears like it was that long ago.
I am currently an ex-cheerleader. I did the whole thing — little kid cheer, high school cheer, college cheer. I did it right up until college graduation actually, and despite years of growing distant from the sport I MISS IT. Yeah, there are a lot of things I don’t miss about it (ex: wearing uniforms that didn’t fit – because they never actually fit, feeding an infinite amount of hairspray to my head, and having a major interference with my social life), BUT I miss being on a team. I miss being forced to partake in physical activity. I miss doing something I actually enjoyed.
If you were also once a cheerleader, chances are you feel the same way. Here are 25 signs you’re an ex-cheerleader:
1. You sometimes find yourself practicing your motions when in front of full-length mirrors. Then you look at the person in the mirror like she’s a complete weirdo, pretend it never happened, and walk away.
2. You’re not sure if it’s still okay to wear Soffe shorts, but you find yourself wearing them in the same way you wear sweatpants and Uggs now (aka to bed and when you’re bummin’ around) because you just can’t quit them… that is, if they even still fit (damn alcohol and regressing metabolisms). #soffes4lyfe
3. You find it necessary to let everyone know when you hear a song that used to be part of your cheer music. You tell them what season it was used (for ex: sophomore year of college, basketball season) and what part of the routine it played during (for ex: THE DANCE). No one ever cares, but if they forgot you were once a cheerleader, now they remember… so there’s that.
4. When you see cheerleaders in the media yelling cheers on TV or in a movie or wherever, you question WHY you used to do that. Then you get embarrassed for a few seconds, remember CHEERLEADING IS AWESOME, and remind yourself that you never liked the act of “cheering” that much. You liked stunting and dancing and all that other good stuff. Games were practice for competition, DUH. Did ANYONE watch Bring It On???
5. You do remember certain cheers though… Especially when watching sports. They come back to you. For instance: “Sack that quarterback” and “Put it in that basket rim.” I’m not going to write out any cheers here, but if you’re an ex-cheerleader, you know where I was going with those..
6. When doing something that involves lifting something heavy, you make it known that you used to lift people. It helps you feel better about the fact that you don’t exactly have arm muscles (anymore). Not that you ever really did. Leg muscles for dayssss (well, not really anymore… but you used to have them, so…).
7. If, for some reason, the argument of cheerleading being a sport comes up in conversation in the workplace – which for some reason it sometimes does – you feel obligated to defend your former love… even though it’s kind of a huge process because in order to do so, you will have to explain to people that you used to be a cheerleader so they stop shitting on it, and then it’s all awkward because they were just shitting on it. Don’t you wish you could just wear a sign that says “I used to be a cheerleader” ??? No? Bad idea? Okay.
8. You often wonder what would happen if you tried to do a toe-touch. You think about this while doing something such as sitting on your couch of course. I mean, you’re not actually going to try one right now… Like, what would happen???
9. When told to clap or clasp your hands together in a workout class, your mind starts to race. You begin to think about the difference between a “clap” and a “clasp” because, guys, they are very different.
10. You’re not sure why you started cheers with “5-6-7-8.” What happened to “1-2-3-4?”
11. You still have an ear for “great cheer music.” And sometimes, if a prospective good cheer song comes on when you’re alone, you dance around to it with VERY SHARP MOVEMENTS because why not.
12. You have a dresser drawer(s) full of old free t-shirts full of *school pride.* And the majority of them say something about CHEER… You don’t wear any of them anymore, though (except sometimes to bed), so you could probably get rid of them… but no. They are your last link to your very active youthful self. YOU CAN’T LET HER GO.
13. You have a battle wound, scar, or permanent injury thanks to cheerleading. I have a bad back and a mean case of hip bursitis. Cheerleading literally aged me. I’m now 25 going on 85. Help.
14. You can smile for an infinite amount of time even when you are SO EFFING ANGRY. People think you are such a goddamn happy person. Which is kinda LOL, since you’re more like “whatever.” This is a great skill to have in the working world. Thx cheer 😀
15. You have deathly flashbacks to pre-season and how SORE your bod would be from conditioning and working so hard. Can you have pre-season again? Seriously. How can you make your body hurt like that now? YOU JUST WANT TO HURT. YOU WANT TO HURT SO BAD.
16. Sometimes you have nightmares where you arrive to a game or competition and have forgotten an essential part of your uniform. THE HORROR. IT LIVES ON.
17. You’ve pinned a picture of a bride flying in a stunt at her wedding. And you’ve vowed to do the same. However, let’s be serious, the older you get the scarier stunting seems to be… so it’s a great idea to try it while in very expensive dresses on the most important day of your life, right???
18. You look back at the time between performing and awards at cheer competitions in confusion. Why did we all get on the mat and do line dances together??? I still don’t know.
19. Watching cheerleading on TV isn’t the same as it used to be. When you try to watch, all the teams look the same… But you still critique betches like it’s your job. No you’re not all up on the latest cheer trends, but you still got it. Kind of. Not really. Okay, not at all. Whatever.
20. Sometimes when no one is around you practice your high kicks, which may or may not be that high anymore. Either or, it’s a great way to crack your muscles because they be hurtin’. You also occasionally see if you can still master the heel stretch while doing high kicks as well. Chances are: you can’t.
21. You feel a connection with former football players. Like, when when you meet one, you make it known that you too used to be a cheerleader. However cheerleading is not the same as football, so why did you say “too?” You were never a football player. Why do you even feel a connection? This isn’t a high school homecoming game. This is real life. Stop.
22. You love a good TV show or movie that is about and/or features cheerleading (or a cheerleader). For instance, Hellcats. I am still mad about Hellcats. Did it really have to get cancelled?!
23. You say you’re not going to let your daughters do cheerleading because it’s getting too dangerous. But then you’re like NO JUST KIDDING THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY GOING TO BE CHEERLEADERS. And then you panic and pray that you will have daughters… or at least one daughter… or kids in general… but not yet because YOUTH IS FLEETING, HELP.
24. Yoga, Barre, Crossfit, hellooooo. You’re obviously still involved in some sort of trendy fitness cult because what is life without an obsession and a regimented work out schedule? Nothing. That’s right. NOTHINGGGGGG.
25. You miss it. Whatever workout you try… Whatever exercise class you take… Whatever fitness cult you join… It will never be the same. Never will you ever willingly dedicate 3 or more hours a day to being active. Not only do you not have the time, but you don’t have the drive. You must have left it on the mat… with your sweat, blood, and tears… and facials, friends, and pom poms. It’s a valid excuse to binge Netflix on the couch, though, right? Right.
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Just curious, what rays team and what year is the picture from ?
As an ex cheerleader I feel disturbed and sad your life didn’t become more exciting and cheerleading seemed to be the peak. I hope you find happiness somewhere else in life. Good luck to you. You seem to have a beautiful spirit.
When you go to lift things you find yourself saying ” 1,2, down up”
Sometimes when you hear certain words you want to spell cheer style because they were a cheer you used to do. A-W-E-S-O-M-E
5, 6, 7, 8 ready, ok….
Yes, the good old days. My left knee(back leg of my splits) keeps me up some nights. But wouldn’t change it. Best year of my life as a teenager. Treasure these days cheerleaders, they stay with you forever. My daughter filled me and cheered for from 4th grade till she graduated high school. I relived my cheer days through her. Thanks Chelsea for the memories.
I’ve been out of school a decade and I swear I remember the cheer move-for-move that we did at the start of every game. Two bad ankles and two UCA all-star awards and 1 All-American ! Go Panthers!
I cheered for 15yrs… Coached many teams for many different programs… And it will never be the same not being out on that floor… I’m 28 now and I still got it all… Never let up even a little, that’s the day you will start to hurt… It’s the feeling of laziness. But truth be told, it does age you quickly, having a fractured hip, broken back twice, blown out knees and shoulders just to name a few, is hard to get out of bed sometimes lol I’m Mike, from TOPGUN:)