Since she was four years old, sophomore Brie Rice has been doing cheer. This is her 11th year as a cheerleader. Rice competed nationally for All Star Cheer, which is where competitive cheer teams across the nation compete against each other. The cheerleaders perform a two minute routine while tumbling, stunting and dancing. But during the fall this year, she cheered for Gull Lake’s sideline cheer team, and she will be participating on the competitive cheer team for Gull Lake this winter.
Before she was a cheerleader, Rice started out as a gymnast.
“I started when I was really little because I thought what the gymnasts were doing was amazing. Also because I liked the leotards,” Rice said.
But, when Rice was age nine, she got very bad whiplash and sprained her neck badly while doing a round off double back handspring. This made her unable to participate in gymnastics anymore. So, this inspired her to become a cheerleader.
“I still wanted to do flips and stuff, and cheer was the second option,” Rice said.
She said that she doesn’t have a role model for cheer, and she just saw this as another opportunity to do what she loved to do. Her favorite part of cheer is tumbling. Tumbling is where the cheerleaders flip, twist, roll, jump and do tricks.
“Learning new stunts is very difficult because sometimes I don’t have the back strength to do it,” Rice said.
Cheer takes a lot of effort and strength to do, especially when doing elaborate flips and tricks.
Rice is a base and a back spot in cheer. But she hasn’t always done this. When she was about seven years old, she was a flyer.
She can do a lot of running into tumbling, and she can almost do her back tuck. She learned how to do a lot of tricks fairly quickly.
“It doesn’t take much time,” Rice said. “You just have to get over going backwards on the majority of them.”
One rule in cheer is that cheerleaders cannot post pictures on social media that reveal too much skin, or anything that can be seen as inappropriate. This can be seen as ruining the cheerleading reputation.
“You can’t have colorful nails, and they can’t be long,” Rice said.
Colorful nails are distracting, and long nails can injure others. For makeup, everyone has to be wearing the same colors, but the style of the makeup can be different.
Practices for sideline and competitive cheer last for around two hours or two and a half hours. For sideline, practices are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For competitive, practices are Tuesday through Friday. During practice, cheerleaders mostly work on what they need to work on most. They also learn new skills for certain rounds.
“My experience with All Star Cheer was a lot more fun than school cheer so far,” she said, “but this is also my first year doing school cheer.”
She said she liked the sideline season, and she’s excited to compete this winter.
“Our team bonds well, but when there is a conflict,” she said. “It’s about one minor thing, which turns into a bigger thing.”
She said she hopes that the team will have a better bond and will work things out more maturely and quickly.
Rice doesn’t know how long in the future she will be cheering for.
“I really don’t have a plan, just until I probably injure myself and can’t cheer anymore,” Rice said.
Rice had a good sideline season, so she said she is really looking forward to cheering competitively this winter for Gull Lake and to from a better bond with the team, and learn how to do other stunts and tricks.