Deciphering the Cheer Lingo

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“Okay girls, let’s start working on our cupies — starting with an awesome. Bases, make sure your arms are at extension height, and flyer, remember to stay tight throughout. Ready, okay!”

If the past sentence didn’t make sense, it’s understandable. One would have to be cheer-lingual to understand the code words in that peppy command. However, while confusing to most, to cheerleaders, those instructions are just another day in the life.

“If you came to one of our practices, you would think we were speaking another language,” said Katie Kelly ‘14. And it’s true. Cheerleaders have a language of their own. They throw around terms like “scorpion,” “awesome,” “basket toss,” and “full,” while tothose outside of the team it may sound more confusing than Shakespeare.

Starting with a term many of those outside of the squad may know, a “scorpion” is an extension of her leg behind the head of the cheerleader; as a result, the leg, arms, and back almost make a circle. This challenging move requires a lot of flexibility in the back, shoulder, and legs, said Emma Mikesh ’16.

Another term that is used frequently throughout cheerleading practice is a “full.” Used to describe the gymnastic stunt that most of the cheerleaders agree is the most difficult, this stunt is performed as the cheerleader flips backwards, while completing a 360 degree turn to the right or left. Throughout the turn, her body remains completely straight.

If this seems confusing, you’re not alone.  Many people lack knowledge of the cheerleading language. For example, when asked what an “awesome” is, football player Jack Greenwald said, “A cool dance maneuver.” While many of you may have agreed, an “awesome” is in fact a stunt where the fliers (cheerleaders at the top of the stunt) keep their feet together as they are lifted quickly into the air by the bases (people lifting the flyer).

Understanding the cheer code is a difficult and long-drawn out process.

Despite all the confusion in the behind-the-scenes, one part of the cheerleading language everybody understands: the cheers. Almost the entire school could sing along with “Blue, white, let’s go, let’s fight,” or “S-H-S, the Wreckers are the best.”

And nearly all the cheerleaders themselves have a cheer they love, one that’s both a crowd pleaser as well as a squad favorite. “My favorite cheer is rock steady. I’m sure a lot of people know how that goes!” said Alexa Davis ’15.