Chapter 4. Cheer Practice
I have five hundred papers in my backpack right now. Trying to walk to the gym for practice. I can't believe how long my first day was. Not only that but these new shoes are killing my feet.
In the gym coach Burnett, a heavy set man like lady, went over the rules of cheerleading, in her hoarse voice.
Levi was sitting next to me giving me an `eww' look when the coach started talking. He wanted to talk about her so bad. I could feel it.
"Why does she look fifty?" he couldn't help but whisper to me.
"I don't know, but her head is way too small for that huge body of hers." I whispered back. "Look under her eyes. She could use some cucumber slices for that."
"She looks like the girl off of that movie `The Ring' only a fatter version." Levi said, "The only difference is, the girl from the ring's hair looks better than coach Burnett's."
Mrs. Burnett was a mess. She shouldn't be a coach for anybody. I mean, how can a coach tell you how to exercise and do all these physical activities, when they are the ones who need it most.
"I don't want to see anybody chewing gum during practice, on the field or at the pep rallies!" coach Burnett's voice echoed though the gym, we were sitting around, in our practice clothes waiting for her to get to the point.
"No jewelry, no nails painted any color besides clear. I don't want anyone cheering with their hair hanging loose. Tie your hair back so that it's out of your face." She went on.
It was basic things, nothing too hard to follow.
"Okay, Amber." Coach Burnett huffed after giving the list of rules. "Can you come up and help me get these uniforms to the right people."
When everybody started getting their uniforms, we had to make sure they fit tight and came in the right sizes.
I went into the boys locker room to try mine on, and my uniform was perfect.
When I put on the shell(shirt) of my uniform, I felt like a new person. I felt like I had so much power, or I was a king or something. Levi being the only other boy on the team. We had the locker room to ourselves.
Checking ourselves out in the mirror, that sat against the cramped wall of the locker room
"Oh my God! I look great!" I said turning sideways to glance at my butt. It was perfect.
"Dude, us in new uniforms." Levi said comparing our reflections. "This year is going to be awesome."
I nodded in agreement. Still not being able to register I was a cheerleader. Actually, cheering at pep rallies, making spirit sticks, going to the games on Fridays...it's just hard to take in.
Our home uniforms had a V-neck shell. Black, gold, and white streaming bans that formed an open diamond in the center of the chest. In the center of the diamond written in gold letters read: `Eagles'.
The pants had criss-crossing black, gold, and white streaming from the bottom moving up the sides of both legs. The girls had to wear a pair of plain black pants during school. Coach Burnett said they couldn't wear their skirts during school on Fridays unless it is at the pep rallies. Our school's dress code sucked, it even went against the cheer skirts. That's how bad it sucked.
(The girls had double-v cheerleading skirts. The two `V's were gold, locking its corners at the bottom right side of their skirt.)
The uniforms even came with jackets. I couldn't resist the urge to put it on right away. It was almost like the shell we wore, but on the back our names were printed in gold letters. Mine read: `Crowns' on the back. It was so beautiful!
The jackets were made of a polyester. It was tight fitting, and it was a tri-coat knit that kept you warm on those cold Friday night games.
"Wow man, these jackets rock!" Levi said trying his on.
We were already given our no-show socks, and our butterfly shoes we had to wear for the game. The coach made it clear, `we had to wear practice shoes for practice, but the butterfly shoes were for games only.'
My cheer uniform hugged me. My uniform let me know I made the right decision when I tried out.
The second hour of practice we got out of our glorified uniforms, to handle other cheerleading business like; finding our assigned places for pep rallies. I was put in the corner where freshmen would be sitting.
After that, we stayed in the gym for practice. Which consisted of: warm-ups, stretches, cheers, chants...
Amber was an okay captain. She yelled every now and then but if she yelled at me like she did some of those other girls, I would say something back to her.
Levi stuck by my side during the entire practice. All he kept talking about during our cheers was how he was so glad J.V. didn't practice with Varsity. He even brought up, how our new uniforms were gold and black, and JV's uniforms were yellow (instead of gold) and black.
"Tomorrow," Coach Burnett said. "We will do tumbling, routines, stunts, and jumps."
Practice did kind of wear me out. I didn't think cheerleaders did this much work. It all looks easy but it's a lot of memory and movements, to get down in a small amount of time.
All in all, the whole varsity squad couldn't wait until Friday. When JV sees the new uniforms they are going to pass out!
Amber told us during practice that our uniforms matched the Varsity football guys' new jerseys. This season of football was going to be exclusive!
Levi's mom always let him use her car to go to school. So I rode home with him from practice. When I got home, I had to get cleaned up. The sweat, and the tiredness was starting to kick in.
Next thing I knew I was waking up around twelve o'clock. It was midnight... My first day had dragged me down. The bad part was, I have to wake up and do everything all over again tomorrow.
I'm so drained. I really didn't want to get up in six hours.
Morning came and I had woke up to do everything again...
When I got on the bus. I sat in my seat that I labeled as my permanent seat, listening to music on my mp3. Bram got on, still ignoring me, still finding other empty seats to fill instead of mine.
When classes started the teachers were spending time reviewing a few subjects, and telling us to get our papers signed and returned.
In English II, Kenton was bragging about how good he looked with his braids. His afro was gone. He finally got someone to braid his hair. His hair being in braids did add to his looks. So he had every right to brag. Especially since his hair came down his back very healthy and neatly.
All through the day, I kept wondering about our uniforms and how justified they made me feel.
Trent and Shane tried to be snide, and ask, `how was practice?' laughing at their own insider. They fled after I shouted `Sit and spin, SpongeBob and Patrick!' I guess their little jokes weren't funny anymore.
I knew Practice might be rougher today anyway. What coach said we would be covering today, made me nervous.
Just as I had thought, practice was pretty tough.
We had to set up bases to throw up flyers. Amanda was a flyer. We had to cup our hands over her shoes, and balance her above our heads. While she stood in our hands she did a scorpion, and a scale. We reloaded her when she fell back into our arms, shooting her back up. She kicked one of her legs out and spun in a spiral through the air.
When we caught her out of the air, we had to send her back up for another stunt. "5,6,7,8." We all counted as a team, throwing her up. She did a back flip in mid-air landing safely in our arms.
Shortly after that, we were stacking pyramids. Levi and I had to hold the base of the pyramids up. We went over herkies, and toe touches to make sure we nailed them perfectly.
After jumps, we had to work on tumbling. A few of the girls were rusty, but when I had to run across the gym floor, I sprinted, executing a cartwheel, round off, back hand spring, and I tied it together with a tuck.
Everything around me seemed to spin out of order when I flipped. All I kept in mind is: bring legs over and put hands out to catch the ground. Keep trusting that my body was doing the right thing was key.
After everyone took turns flipping, we had one hour left of practice. Everybody was sweating now, and our muscles burned like fire. Coach Burnett told us, "Step outside, we will be practicing with the band for the last hour of practice."
When we were outside, the football players were being fussed at by their coaches. I couldn't tell which one was Bram. Because they all had on their helmets.
The thing I thought was hard to take my eyes from, was the muscles and the short, shorts that came up mid-thigh on these guys.
It was a sight to see! Yummy!
The band started beating their drums while the flags girls twirled their flags. Amber led the dance routine through our school fight song as the band played. We had to repeat the dance three times, before we moved on to the other songs we had to cheer to during the games.
Levi whispered to me "At the games, if you are not paying attention. The band will up and play any song, and you have to know what cheer or routine goes with the song, instantly."
During the dancing and the counting inbetween beats, I looked over at the football players who were having a rough practice. I heard them barking and calling out plays. Some of the guys were running up the long stretched field to catch the ball, others were blocking. It was like so much was going on at once, it was hard to keep track of what was happening.
"Okay, Okay... we are almost out of time." Coach Burnett stopped us, looking at her watch. "I'll go over a few things, and I want you all to head to the locker room when I'm finished. First, remember to yell from your diaphragm when you are cheering. Second, flyers be sure to tighten your abdominal region when you are twirling in the air. Third, everybody make sure your arms are stiff and you squeeze your muscles as you make your motions in the routines. When Friday comes, I want you all to move together as a team. Make W.H.S. look good. And last but not least, when you have to stand on the track, don't move from side to side while the game is going on. Stay in one spot! Plant yourself there, and stand there, with your hands behind your back at all times... Unless you have to cheer. Which is the only time you are to move and take your eyes off the game." She looked at her watch again. "Alright? Is that clear?"
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