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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.

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About the Contributor
Cadence Neenan, Web Managing Editor
By the age of 18, most kids have not yet chosen their favorite word. In fact, most teenagers have never even thought about such a question. Perhaps a few have been asked on a “Getting to Know You” sheet handed out by English teachers on the first day of school. But in that case, most probably just mindlessly scribbled words onto their sheets such as “literally,” or “totally,” or “dude.” Cadence Neenan ’15, on the other hand, has thought about this deeply. Her favorite word is “loquacious.” Neenan grew up in a home that fostered a love for all things English. With her mom as a former Staples High School English teacher and her dad as a librarian, Neenan was destined for a love affair with vocabulary, grammar, and reading. “My mom always used to read to me ever since I was little,” she said. “I love to read because I was raised to be a good reader.” In school, Neenan has opted to create a heavy course load that reflects her love of English and reading. AP Lit, AP Lang, AP Euro, and AP Gov are just a few of the difficult classes Neenan has chosen to take on. For Neenan, however, much of the learning and “fun with English” goes on outside the class material. “The other night, I was reading a poem during English class,” Neenan said. “I really liked it, so I brought it home and showed my mom. We spent the whole 45 minutes at dinner rhetorically analyzing it and talking about the devices the author used. It was so fun.” Alongside typical English classes, Neenan has also become a part of Inklings to exercise her love of writing. After taking Intro to Journalism, she fell in love with newspaper writing and, since then, has proven herself to be an essential Inklings player, as she is now the Web Managing Editor. “When I found out that I got Web Managing I had a panic attack because I was so happy,” Neenan said. “I like being a managing editor because I love the freedom the web gives me to be creative with my ideas.” Neenan also plans to use her journalism and writing skills in college and, later, in her career. “In college I want to study political science, but I am considering using that to go into journalism,” Neenan said. “Going into journalism with a focus on politics is what I am really interested in.”

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