No cheer for girls sports?


Photo by Allie Rothman

Varsity and JV cheerleading teams attend the girls varsity volleyball game, and cheer them on during their win over Wootton. In the fall, cheer primarily attended football games, and not many other sports, due to their busy schedule.

WJ cheer’s tightly-packed schedule precludes them from attending all sporting events but in the fall some students view their presence at only football games as a bias against girl’s sports.

“There’s no policy against [cheering for girls sports], there’s absolutely no policy against it! I’m not sure why the cheerleaders aren’t there, to be honest,” athletic director Thomas Rogers said.

If a policy doesn’t exist, then why not have our spirit squad attend girls’ games?

“Most of our cheers are about football,” cheer co-captain junior Sydney Bryon replies, “If girls soccer or field hockey asked us, we would definitely cheer at their games, but traditionally they don’t want us there.”

Field hockey forward senior Emilia Toloza does not think that cheer would fit in well with Field Hockey’s games as it is distracting for her team.

“Sophomore year we had one game with the cheerleaders and honestly it was [kind of] distracting and we didn’t really like it, would [probably] just always do that since we’re not used to it and truthfully not want it,” Toloza said.

Cheer has had the opportunity to cheer at varsity girls’ soccer games in the past. Senior girls’ varsity soccer captain Charlotte Levine believes that the structure of football games is more suited for cheerleaders than other games.

“Soccer is more about watching the game whereas football has lots of breaks in plays and plenty of time for the cheerleaders to do their thing,” Levine said.

The game of soccer is a far more fluid game, moving quickly, hardly halting in play.

Although The Pitch attempted to reach out to cheer coach Kirsten Smith, she declined to comment.

The cheer team’s schedule does not allow them to attend every game, so they have to choose which sports to support.

As a highly active team at WJ, the cheerleaders have their own agenda: rehearsing for competitions, conditioning, strength work and weekly game appearances.

Senior Nick Orellana believes that the main goal of the cheer team is to prepare for competitions, but cheer would be present at more games if they could be.

“We usually don’t have time and that’s why we only cheer for football since we practice literally every day,” Orellana said. “In winter we cheer for both girls and boys basketball since we have more time.”

Rogers acknowledges that if cheer is able to, they should definitely attend more sports events.

“A big rival game would be awesome to have the cheerleaders at, and volleyball would be the perfect sport,” Rogers said.

On September 17, cheerleaders sat in the stands at the girls’ varsity volleyball game. With bows in their hair and smiles on their faces, they cheered the team on against Wootton. This was the first fall girls’ athletic event that the team has attended. It resulted in an abundance of support, as the volleyball team enjoyed the presence of cheer at their game due to the increased spirit and excitement.

“I think the energy of the gym was so much better having them there,” Bryon said. “It really got everyone’s energy and excitement up to have the gym so loud.”

Cheer also thoroughly enjoyed attending the game and being able to bring their spirit to other sports.

“The girls volleyball game was a lot of fun,” Orellana said. “We love cheering on any WJ team that we can.”

In the winter, cheer also tries to attend some bocce games as well. Essentially, gender roles and discrimination are not the main factors at play here. The tightly filled cheer schedule and the way certain games are structured, makes the integration of cheer into all sports very challenging.