Written and Media by Nathan Craig.
“Let’s go Greenville!” is a familiar chant that sounds at sporting events from the Greenville College cheerleading team. These cheerleaders put in hours of dedicated practice every week to support their sport’s team. They have three practices a week for two hours as well as mandatory strength training workouts.
The GC cheer coach, Sean Washington, commented on cheerleading as a squad and sports club:
Cheerleading is NOT a sport, nor would any want it to be if they understood the ramifications. They are athletes and cheerleading is an athletic event. There are different levels, styles, and types of cheerleading. It would be a discredit to lump them all into one grouping.”
This is one reason why GC cheer is considered a club. Each season the squad holds tryouts for anyone interested in supporting the Panthers. Junior transfer, Elaine Renehan, recalls her tryout: “Tryouts were difficult but it was easy to catch onto because the girls were so helpful.” New additions to the squad are faced with a reality check in the intensity change from high school cheer to college cheer. Though tryouts aren’t taken lightly, the support from those on the team makes the transition easier for new people. The main difference is the type of stunts they perform since restrictions from high school are lifted. This means that many hours are spent perfecting those stunts that were illegal in high school.
In performing difficult stunts, improvement is important for these athletes. They set manageable goals for themselves. Renehan states, “As a team, we have small goals that we work towards every practice.” They work together to grow in faith as individuals and as a whole. Faith is a large aspect of Greenville College and so they give all the glory to God with their spirit. According to Washington, their main goal is to
promote school spirit, primarily at athletic events. It is the desire of the program to no only do that, but to be ambassadors for the school as role models in the community. Our ultimate goal is to promote Christ in all that we do with the gifts and talents He has given.”
Their focus is what keeps the squad Christ-centered while honing their skills and cheering at sporting events. An example of their priorities is how they end practices with prayer and the team motto of “building on a solid foundation” and “All that we are and all that we have, we give to Christ and his service.” These students prioritize God, balance classes, chapel, and a social life along with hours of practice a day.
Cheer is a big time commitment with sporting events and competitions but completely worth it for these members. If you would like to see what GC cheer is all about, in March they are competing at the national level against teams across the nation. Don’t miss it!