“Cheerleading Is My Life”

Here, we come, the BLUE, BLACK, and WHITE. Panthers, All-Stars, Cheer and Unite!

So a few updates: Regionals went quite well last night, and I think we all felt pretty confident out on that floor! I was a little bummed that the nerves got the best of me, so I didn’t fully pull up my scorp during the partner stunts and instead went right to scale, but it didn’t look like a mistake when I watched the video so it wasn’t too bad. The other CCA teams that I watched (Black and Silver) did really good too. Black had really cute stunts, and Silver’s tumbling was awesome!

In this blog post, I’d like to share a few personal reflections on my love of this sport. This past weekend has really made me remember why I love cheerleading so so much, and it makes me so happy, that I feel the need to advertise it to the world!

It’s during competitions that I always vow that I’ll never stop cheering. Just having practices for a while can get kind of repetitive and tedious sometimes, but as soon as you come out and shine on that floor, you know that those grueling hours were well worth it! It’s during those 2:30 minutes that you fly to the moon and back, figure out the meaning of life, and restore peace to the world. You solve world hunger, you love with all your heart, and you live like you were dying. Because during those 2:30 minutes out on those 9 blue mats, you just know that anything is within your reach, and all you have to do is grab it.

For me, it starts about one week away from competition. That building excitement. It’s in the back of your head, poking its little glittery face around the corner. It’s all you ever want to talk about, and your non-cheer friends don’t get it and wish you’d stop bugging them about paying $15 to come watch you for two-and-a-half minutes.  You whip out the self-tanner and you make sure you have adequate quantities of bronzer and sparkles for the big day. You make sure to stretch every day, and do some conditioning to get your body into tip-top cheer shape. As the last practice before competition nears its end, you’re feeling confident. We got this in the bag.

The night before, you nervously fall asleep and dream of twisted routines, backstabbing handsprings, mocking judges and embarrassing uniform mishaps. You keep waking up  and checking the time every hour, until finally…

Eating Bananas before cheerleading competitions is one of my cheer traditions. What are some of yours?

You get up with a little knot in your stomach, you eat some bananas (bananas calm your nerves :)), and you begin your big day routine. You shower while mentally going over your cheer motions, and counting through the whole routine. Taking your time, you put on your uniform and do your hair and makeup carefully, while in the background your routine’s soundtrack is on replay. You lay out all your competition necessities on your bed, mentally checking each item off. Cheer shoes – check. Extra eye glitter – check. Lipstick – check. Uniform skirt – check. Bananas – check. Water bottle – check. Snacks and drinks – check. You look yourself over in the mirror, straighten out the giant bow on your head, smile, and pop your team jacket’s collar. Today is your day.

Arriving at comp, you can’t stop smiling, and you keep looking around at the other teams curiously. During warm-up, you give it your all, but  somehow it seems far from perfect. Stunts that were always solid at practice are all of a sudden falling down. Handsprings that were once a given are now hiding behind a sheet of nerves, causing injuries before the run. But you are strong. You are part of a team. And that team is with you in everything you do, and they won’t let those ugly nerves get to you, because they want that gold just as much as you do. And behind the curtain, ‘I’ becomes ‘WE’. And as our team is called out to the floor, WE BRING IT. WE smile so hard our faces ache. And those smiles aren’t fake – they are smiles because at this moment, WE are so happy. WE pull those sheets of nerves aside, and WE expose amazing handsprings, high jumps, and strong pyramids. “What injuries?” – WE say, and  WE pull our motions so tight that WE might snap in two at any moment. WE DO NOT BAIL, even when things go wrong. Shoes will fall off, bows will fly out, uniforms will come undone, and WE’ll still be going strong. WE pull those arabesques, heelstretches, scorps, and bows [okay maybe we’ve still got a bit of work to bows] like no tomorrow. Because during those 2:30 minutes, there IS no tomorrow. THIS IS OUR LIFE. WE LIVE TO CHEER.

-Mina

Battle wounds after our run!


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Need something to do this Saturday Night?

How about attend Ontario Cheerleading Federation’s Regionals 2011 Competition??

Come support the CCA Panthers and  other amazing teams from all over Ontario!

Location: Hershey Center, Mississauga (5500 Rose Cherry Place)

Time: 11 am to see all South Region teams, and 4 pm for Central Region teams

Price: $20 at the door

Among the South Region teams showing off their stuff will be Black Widow, Ottawa Cheer Elite, and Capital City Storm.

The Central Region competition looks promising too, with teams like Top Flight, Thunder All-Star, Superstar Stingrays, Xtreme Outlaws, Absolute Cheer, Synergy Elite, Durham Elite Hawks, and of course, CCA Panthers.

Lots of great high school teams will be present both in the morning and afternoon competitions as well. Don’t miss out!

For Directions to the Hershey Centre visit: http://www.hersheycentre.com/Directions.html

More info: http://www.hersheycentre.com/HC%20Event%205.html

Hope to see you all there!

Go Panthers!

-Mina

 


Cool Bows: Sequins and Sparkles and Layers, Oh My!

Hello fellow Cheer Champs!

As promised, here is the bow post. This is a collection of some the snazziest (and not-so-snazzy) cheer bows around. Enjoy! And as always, I want to hear about your faves so feel free to comment!

The "Let's All Sail Away on a Bed of Cheer Mats" Bow. Perfect for the young sailor!

The "Welcome to Cheer, Little Ones" Bow.

The "Cheer Stars are Born and Raised in America" Bow!

The "Red Hot Cheer Passion with a Touch of Dark Mystery" Bow.

The "Blind a Deer Without the Use of Headlights" Bow. Hopefully you don't blind the judges too!

The "Rivers of Purple Flow Through the Shadowy Streaks of the Night" Bow.

The "Product of a Zebra, Giraffe, and Lots of Grapes" Bow. No animals were harmed in the making 🙂

The ""Meow!" - says the snow leopard kitty, while prancing through a winter wonderland" Bow.

The "Lollipops and Rainbows Sweetie-Pie" Bow. Every Tiny team should have one of these scrumptious bows!

The "Cheetah in Heat" Bow. For the passionate animal in all of us...Rawrr!

The "Pretty Kitty in Blue" Bow. Perfect for every young panther! Shout out to CCA - Can we have these bows next year pretty please? With a paw on top?

The "Good Morning America!" Bow. What American wouldn't love waking up to this? Love the 60's feel!

The "Kitty-Kat-Swimmin' In-The-Deep-Blue-Sea" Bow! Who says cats hate water?

The "Brownnosing Zebra" Bow. Sure to impress your coaches with this one!

The "Starry Night" Bow. Enjoy stunting under the stars!

The "How to Prove You're Sexy" Bow. By writing it all over your head of course! This bow would actually be cute if 'HOT' and 'SEXY' wasn't boldly slapped in the middle of it! Classy.

The "Ninjas!" Bow. Every tumbler should have one.

The "Honey You've Got the Pox" Bow. Sure to brighten up any sick cheerleader's spirit!

The "Help, I'm on Fire!" Bow. It's what happens when cheerleaders lose their cool.

The "Paw o' the Irish!" Bow. Leprechauns wish they had these.

The "Fresh From my Garden" Bow. Served as a side salad.

The "Groovy, Baby" Bow. Psychedlic!

The "Spirited Cheetah" Bow. 100% Spirit. 100% Cheetah. (No animals were harmed)

The "Thirsty Zebras" Bow. What? Animals need their 8 glasses a day too!

The "Only the Rich Own a Jag" Bow. Jaguar ownership not a must. Jag attitude required.

The "And the Sea, the Stars, and Animals Became One" Bow. Cheerleaders really do bring the world together.

The "North Stars Amidst Velvet Skies" Bow. Very possibly among one of my top picks.

Hope you all enjoyed those!

Coming up on Cheer Town: Which lucky teams will get to compete at Worlds this year?

Cheer on!

-Mina


Happy Valentine’s Day All!


Cheer Uniforms With Class (and Sportsmanship!)

One of the best things about being a cheerleader are the days I get to wear my uniform! Getting new uniforms is also always really exciting, especially if you get to have a say in the decision! Here is a compilation of some of my favourite cheer uniform styles. You may recognize some of the teams names from Canadian cheer clubs. If your  coach is thinking about changing uniforms, maybe you can casually hint about the style you’d like!

<– I love the colours (mainly because they’re Humber colours 🙂 ), and I like the cutout sleeve and v-neck. Actually there isn’t really anything I don’t love about this uniform!

 

 

This one reminds me of our current one at CCA Panthers, because of the colours and the shiny blue. I also like it because it’s pretty different than most uniforms, it’s dynamic and just plain awesome 🙂 –>

 

 

 

 

<– This one is pretty traditional but again I primarily included it because of the blue and gold colours 🙂 It’s a cute one for guys too I think.

 

 

<–And here’s yet another blue and gold one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<– Here’s a more original one that you don’t see every day. It almost doesn’t even look like a cheer but more of a dance uniform. Is the world of cheer uniforms headed towards more dance-y/gymnastic-y styles? Not sure if it’s really practical though. Slash, I’m not sure about you, but I feel like competing without one sleeve would have me fearing for my life that my boob would just fall out mid-routine.

 

I pretty much just loved the stars on this one lol. –>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<– I like this sleeveless look. Normally I prefer sleeves but this one works because the neckline isn’t cut out too low. I also like how it’s a one piece.

 

 

I like the straps and how it’s a one piece but kind of like two. I’m not sure how I feel about the hole in the middle… I think it might be kind of boring without it though. –>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<– This is another more gymnastics-inspired one. Not sure how I feel about it pertaining to cheer yet. Love the scale though 🙂

 

 

–>

I obviously had to include our sweet Team Canada uniforms!! Woooot! I can’t wait to see their routine this year at Worlds! (April 28th – May 2nd!)

C-A-N-A-D-A Canada, Let’s, Go, Canada!

 

 

 

 

 

<– Okay this one is really weird and just reminds me of a dominatrix…but hey that’s cheer in Taiwan for you! I’m not sure for what purpose the leg warmer things are… I hope they don’t stunt in these!

 

 

This one is kinda cute with the differing shoulder straps. It’s pretty traditional in terms of geometrical shapes. –>

 

 

 

<– I just like this top. It’s pretty simple and I like the straps and the triangle cut at the bottom.

 

 

 

 

The one below is cute too and it’s interesting that although there are no actual bold colours, it still works and looks good. I like the straps and the skirt.

Hope you all enjoy these! Let me know which ones are your faves!

Also, watch for the sequel to this post, ‘Bows Galore’, coming soon!

Cheer On!

-Mina

 

 


Cheerleading is 90% mental work.

The 0.5 million things we have to remember how to do. Talk about multi-tasking!

We all know the physical exertion we must endure during practice and on our own time, stretching and contorting our bodies in ways we didn’t know were possible, and doing countless hours of conditioning to get our bodies into tip-top cheer shape. Don’t underestimate the importance of all this, however note that  I have come to the conclusion that the hardest conditioning we have to put up with, is that of our mind.

Speaking from the standpoint of a flyer, my brain is something that often messes me up. Before every single stunt I do (be it a double base or a scorp), a little tiny voice at the back of my head says the following in a really fast chipmunk-like voice (no doubt hoping I won’t notice it, and indeed I try not to):

“Mina what are you doing, are you about to let yourself be lifted up? What if you screw up? What if they don’t catch you? What if you fall? Oh you’ll surely fall, this might be the last time you walk, and you’ll end up paralyzed in a wheel chair! You better not screw this up or everyone else in the group will be really disappointed and they won’t like working with you and they’ll want a new flyer, and your coach will be disappointed and won’t put you in any stunts, you need to prove to her you can do this so you better not fall out of that stunt! But wait, you’re not seriously doing this after all I ju -…..”

And it goes on and on. And then I, tune it out, bare a smile, and jump into my bases’ hands. It’s basically a tedious mind battle every practice. I tell myself I love stunting, but that little tiny part in my brain is always dreading it.

Stunting with the right mindset is extremely important. And I’ve found that the only thing that truly makes the little voice in my head quieter and quieter and eventually can completely silence it, is practice. Practicing stunts over and over and over until they’re flawless makes it shut up because it gives me confidence. And boy does that feel great! Actually, it’s that feeling I get when I get a stunt just right, that keeps me going and makes me continue cheering.

But it’s not just the little annoying voice that I have to deal with. You see, to get a stunt just right, it takes an odd combination of concentration. You can’t concentrate too much, because you have to let your body do what it knows how to unconsciously do. But if you concentrate too little, you’ll fail as well. Go figure! It’s so difficult to capture that in-between state of mind and stay there… it’s almost like a type of meditation because you have to focus but not focus at the same time.

Then there are mental blocks that seem to appear out of nowhere. One day you’ll have your full, and the next, boom! All of a sudden you can’t do it anymore and there is absolutely no logical reason as to why! You’re in shape, you’ve been doing it all summer, but darn it it’s like your brain just spat it out one day and decided to forget how to do it!

I’ve heard that many tumblers and sometimes bases too go through mental blocks like these. I recently read a case about a base who started being really afraid of catching, because someone had fallen on her head, so every time she had to catch, she would crouch low (clearly worsening the situation).

Mental blocks can be very frustrating, but what you have to do is imagine yourself executing the skill over and over, and then force yourself to try it out over and over. (Use spots to help if you’re afraid, but don’t learn to rely on them too much). It may take a few practices, weeks, or even months, but it’s just something you have to not give up on. Thus I have faith that my full will return one of these days out of the blue, just like it disappeared.

Anyways, click on the title of this post so you can leave a comment in the comment box that will appear below, and let me know how you cope with mental blocks!

Cheer on!

-Mina