Walter Johnson HS cheer reacts to “Cheer” on Netflix

With the recent release of the second season of the docuseries “Cheer” on Netflix, attention has been focused on the world of competitive cheer. “Cheer” follows cheerleaders from Navarro College, a two-year community college in Corsicana, Texas, and highlights the struggles and bonds of the competitive cheerleading world. Many WJ cheerleaders see this docuseries as a great portrayal and representation of competitive cheerleading.
Cheerleading is usually perceived as shouting encouragement on the sidelines for a football team, with the occasional pom shake, but it is much more than that. Cheerleading at any level can be both mentally and physically draining, and WJ cheerleaders feel that the struggles “Cheer” has highlighted can improve perceptions of it on a larger scale.
The newest season, which aired just this past January, chronicles the journey of a Texas community college cheer team as they navigate the world of competitive cheer.
Junior Ava Franke has been on varsity cheer since her freshman year and has cheered competitively since 6th grade. Franke also attended “The Cheerleading World Championships”—an international cheerleading competition—in Orlando, Florida, which is similar to the Daytona Beach competition showcased on “Cheer.” Franke feels that “Cheer” has positively impacted the perception of cheer and hopes others will grow to love the sport as much as she does.
“In the documentary, they actually show everything that cheer really is. The difficulty, skill and the physical and mental toll it has on someone. Now that it’s a more popular show that reaches more than just cheerleaders, I think more people are starting to understand what cheer is and might even gain some respect for cheerleaders,” Franke said.
“Cheer” gives representation to one of the least represented sports on television. Although some parts are exaggerated for production value, “Cheer” gives the audience a raw portrayal of the toll that all-star cheerleading takes on the body.
Senior cheer captain Gretchen Klotz also has all-star cheerleading experience and feels that “Cheer” is great for spreading awareness for the competitive aspect of the sport, especially at schools where people would assume sideline cheer is the extent of what cheerleading is.
“‘Cheer’ really gets watchers introduced to how the world of competitive cheer runs, and this draws more attention to WJ varsity cheer’s competitive side,” Klotz said.
“Cheer” focuses heavily on the feeling after competing. Junior Gigi Relacion also joined the cheer team with all-star experience, believing “Cheer” showcases the raw emotions that come with taking the floor at a high-stakes competition.
“It’s extremely nerve-wracking. You have spent your entire season working on a two-minute routine, and if even one person makes a mistake, your shot at a title can be gone like that. But, if you do hit your routine, the feeling coming off the mat is incredible, and ‘Cheer’ helps give non-cheerleaders a viewpoint on the crazy world of competitive cheer and teaches that performing a great routine makes all the sacrifices worth it. It is the best feeling ever,” Relacion said.