Friday, February 13, 2015
You have seen featured in our videos, and read about her picks in our blogs…But who is Erica? Some of you have been asking to know more about the face of CheerandPom so we sat down with her and asked about her cheerleading experience.
CP: How old are you?
Erica: I recently turned 22.
CP: How long ago did you start cheering?
Erica: I started cheering my sophomore year of high school at Horlick in Racine, WI. That would’ve been in 2008.
CP: Why did you decide to try cheerleading?
Erica: Funny thing is I didn’t set out to be a cheerleader. My freshman year, my friend told me she was going to try out for the cheerleading squad. At the time, I knew nothing about cheerleading or what cheering for Horlick would mean. She kept asking me to try out so I finally agreed.
CP: So, being that you were new to this at the time, give us your take on the tryout process at Horlick High School.
Erica: At Horlick, tryouts lasted a week. Every member had to try out, new members and returning members. No-one was “guaranteed” a place. During that week, every evening after school, whoever wanted to come to the tryout session came. The chosen captains for that year would lead the tryouts and teach cheers, jumps, dances and stunts. It was up to you to practice as much outside of tryouts as you wanted. Friday was the actual tryout. You would be broken into groups of four and asked to do the dance, cheer and stunt that we had learned during the week. This was preformed in front of the captains, coaches and two other judges. Once completed we were asked to leave and the wait would begin. We were told that we would receive a phone call by midnight if we had made the squad, and if not, we hadn’t made it. I remember that being a very tense evening. But I couldn’t have been more excited when I got my call saying I made varsity!
CP: So having that experience, what advice would you give to people trying out for the first time?
Erica: Don’t be nervous to ask questions! I had never cheered in my life, and I was unsure about a lot of things. Asking questions and making sure I was learning everything correctly the first time I was taught was very beneficial to me. Also, it’s unnatural to perform with a nonstop smile and energy, if you aren’t otherwise used to it. Don’t be afraid to look and feel a little outside of your comfort zone.
CP: Horlick took home quite a few state cheerleading titles while you were on the team. What advice can you give for competitions?
Erica: Keep an end goal in mind and fixate on it. When I cheered for Horlick, the cheer dance was our specialty, and we craved the state champion trophy. Every year we won, other squads worked harder to beat us and we saw it. Keeping in mind how fierce the competition was motivated us to work through such a long season.
CP: Finally, lately there has been a lot of debate over whether cheerleading is a sport or not. What is your take on that subject? Do you think it is a sport?
Erica: Absolutely. Cheerleaders do more than just “flip around” and try to look pretty. Cheerleaders are there to pump up a crowd, keep energy going and make people excited. This is a lot harder than it looks. It requires athleticism and determination. So much work and rehearsal is put into every dance, every cheer and every stunt. It requires training your body in ways that benefit your performance, just like any other sport; stronger legs for jumping and lifting, stronger arms for tight motions, strong core for stunts and tumbling. Stunting is probably some of the most athletic and important activities that are a part of cheerleading. Lifting and throwing people in the air while maintaining a synchronized and appealing visual is hard to do. But it’s what the crowd loves, and that’s why we do it.