COVID-19 Tumbles into my Cheer Season


Lauren Wilmore

Where my cheer bag has been sitting, untouched since the stay at home order was put into place.

They announce our division is next. We feel the butterflies rise in our stomachs as eighth is announced, then seventh, sixth, fifth and fourth. People said that this was our best performance yet, but we all kept wondering if it was enough to win against a team we’ve never beaten before.

Third is announced and it’s a different team; we frantically look at each other knowing it’s down to us and them. Squeezing each other’s hands, second place is announced. We look wide eyed at each other, realizing we just beat the team that we’ve been rivals with for years.

Not only did we win first place, but we got a fully paid bid to the Summit in May, which is a huge deal in the cheer world. Some girls on our team have never been to Summit and they finally get to go.

The Summit is a competition hosted by Varsity athletics where you are invited based upon your skill to compete. They shut down the Disney parks in Orlando, Florida for all of the cheerleaders when the Summit competition happens. Going to Summit would answer the question we had been asking ourselves, could we really be the best team in the country?

But that question will never be answered due to the COVID-19 pandemic turning everyone’s world upside down. The virus had taken our season and snatched it away, when we were just about to win it all. The feeling will never go away, that if we would’ve been able to compete at the Summit, there’s a pretty good chance we could’ve won.

Varsity hasn’t officially cancelled the Summit, but just postponed it claiming that they will reschedule it for late June. This should be great news and while I am a positive person, I’m also practical.

While hosting a huge competition in late June raises the concern of the cheerleaders health and well being, we also have been out of practice for a month now and it will continue to be this way for weeks to come. We can work out ourselves at home, but it’s nothing compared to the rigorous training and conditioning we do at our gym to prepare for the Summit.

Not only that, but the next season is supposed to start in late May. Postponing the Summit also means cutting into our preparation and choreography time for the upcoming season.

I’ve been doing cheer for years and it absolutely leaves my heart broken that after all the hard work and dedication we put into this season, it might not be finished the way it should. The goal going into every cheer season, every year, is to get to the Summit. It’s not even about winning the Summit because just getting there is a big enough accomplishment, but personally I think we could’ve taken home the gold.

So while it would be great to pick up our season right where we left off come June, I think it’s safe to say the question many cheerleaders have been asking themselves around the country will not be answered this season: Do we have what it takes to win the Summit?