High-SchoolGirl: Cheerleading

All-Star Spotlight: Cheerleading is a sport

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
8:50
AM ET
Every week in “All-Star Spotlight,” members of the ESPNHS All-Star team tackle a hot topic in high school sports. Today, Samantha Dubreuil, a sophomore cheerleader at East Lyme (Conn.), explains why cheerleading is a sport.

Being an all-star cheerleader, nothing is more infuriating to me than being told that it is not a sport. When people think of cheerleading, thoughts of “spirit fingers” and pom-poms often come to mind. However, having been an all-star cheerleader for five years now, I have grown to respect and love the sport. Here’s why.

high school
Courtesy of Samantha Dubreuil/ESPNHSSamantha Dubreuil is a sophomore cheerleader at East Lyme (Conn.) and a member of the ESPNHS All-Star team.
Before I started cheering, I was big into soccer and softball. The thought of being a cheerleader didn’t appeal to me until my older sister started doing it. I was even one of those individuals who thought cheerleading was all about “spirit fingers.” I was wrong.

In all-star cheerleading, rather than cheering for a basketball or a football team, you learn one 2-minute, 30-second routine and show it off at a selection of different competitions. There are different performance levels, too -- 1 being the lowest and 6 being the best -- a judging model very similar to gymnastics or figure skating.

In order to achieve different skills, each athlete must condition and put in the effort to learn them. Since I play other sports such as lacrosse and track, I know what it’s like to run up and down a field, or do 55-meter hurdles. In my opinion, I can easily and confidently say that all-star cheerleading is the hardest sport out of them all.

Getting thrown into the air and flipping all over the place for that amount of time requires persistence and agility. It has even been proven that it takes 30 muscles to throw a football, and 40 muscles to do a standing tuck.

So the next time someone decides to say cheerleading isn’t a sport, they should give it a try. They will be proven wrong, just like I was.

All-Star Spotlight: A moving movie speech

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
7:09
AM ET
Every Tuesday and Thursday in “All-Star Spotlight,” members of the ESPNHS All-Star team tackle a hot topic in high school sports. Today, Samantha Dubreuil, a sophomore cheerleader at East Lyme (Conn.), shares her favorite motivational speech.

When we athletes get ready for our next big competition, there are usually several steps of preparation. Whether your team participates in pep talks, inspirational speeches or team bonding exercises, these activities eventually become exciting traditions that can lead your team to success.

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Courtesy of Samantha Dubreuil/ESPNHSSamantha Dubreuil is a sophomore cheerleader at East Lyme (Conn.) and a member of the ESPNHS All-Star team.
Being part of an All Star cheer gym, my team has a variety of traditions we partake in together before a competition. At the practice before, we listen to Al Pacino’s speech “Peace by Inches” from the movie “Any Given Sunday.” Our coach sits us on the floor in front of the stereo and plays it for us, and we quietly take in what Pacino is saying. His speech talks about inches, and how the littlest error in sports can make a big difference in the outcome (and in life). A few days later, at the competition, we listen to the speech again before performing. After listening to it, we go into warm-ups with a better mindset.

Here is my favorite part of the “Peace by Inches” speech:

“Now I can’t make you do it. You got to look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes! Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows, when it comes down to it, you’re gonna
do the same for him!”


I think this is meaningful because on a team you have to trust that all of your teammates will put in as much effort as you are giving. I really relate to these words because on my team, each person has her own job to accomplish throughout the routine. The flier has to have trust in her bases, and the bases have to trust that their flier will do what she has to do while in the air. Every time I listen to this speech it reminds me how much my team means to me, and how over the years they have become family.

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