By: Cristin Blake
Cheerleading is a fall and winter sport at Wethersfield High School, offered to any freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, and is coached by Ali Cormier.
During the seasons, athletes train their body and enhance their skills in stunting, tumbling, jumps, and remembering sideline chants and routines for halftimes at games and competitions. However, this cheer season was unlike any other due to the long lasting effects of COVID-19.
As a member of the Wethersfield High School cheer team, I have seen the challenges this fall and incoming winter season have brought due to the limitations the virus has brought to the team.
Coach Ali Cormier and senior captains Dynasty Ellis, Madeleine Day, and Julia Ward have all been working together to try and make these seasons as normal as possible. With all the new restrictions and limitations put in place throughout the season, many of things that were allowed before the virus came, are labeled as high risk now. The commitment to cheerleading has affected the girls, too.
“The pandemic did affect the girls trying out because we really truly only had two days to tryout,” says senior captain Dynasty Ellis.
Dynasty and her other fellow captains Madeleine and Julia have been trying to find easier ways to teach everything, like sideline chants, proper jump and motion technique, and the function of games for the upcoming basketball season.
In addition, it was hard to tell if there even was going to be a season, being that the start date of cheerleading and other winter sports dates had been pushed back at the end of the fall season. But now that they have been able to jump back into things, their goal is to try and find the positive out of this.
Senior captain Julia Ward says, “I’m trying to look on the brightside now, because we could’ve gotten everything cancelled; there could’ve been a possibility that we weren’t even going to have practice at all.”
Before the pandemic, we would come to practice, talk and laugh with each other, and enjoy a mask free environment however, things have changed drastically.
Now we can’t really do much of that, having to worry about keeping our masks on, maintaining 6 ft of distance apart, and limiting what we can share with each other. When practicing, we focus on tight motions and loud voices when going over chants and halftime routines, rather than stunting and preparing for competitions.
In times like these, it's uncertain of how tomorrow will look, but you can only hope for the best at this point. Head coach Ali Cormier shares her take on how coaching this group of girls this year has changed drastically compared to other years.
Instead of learning advanced skills, we’ve gone back to the basics, making sure that we perfect what we already know.
“The more fun side of coaching has come out as opposed to the strict, tough competitive side,” says Coach Ali Cormier, an alumni from Wethersfield High School and the Wethersfield High School cheer team.
It’s uncertain what this season is set to bring and the obstacles the girls will have to continue to go through. However, their heart and positivity for the sport is giving them hope that they can do anything.
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