Disclaimer: this is not an official article, this is the rough English version of an interview Lauren was so kind to do for us.
Now really, are those pom-poms, or pom-pons, or should we just stick with cheerleader? The American term is cheerleader, but that doesn't take us closer to the solution. Or does it? We have seen them in movies and during game broadcasts, maybe even here in Hungary at a game or at some event. We'll try to clarify things in two posts, in the first one we will ask an American cheerleader what on earth a cheerleader really does, and then we will interview two Hungarian girls who got themselves into cheering.
Lauren Brigham, who cheered for almost a decade, starting in elementary school, through high school and up to college, answered our most pressing questions. We thank Lauren's cooperation by shouting out Let’s go Buffalos! to the far away plains of Colorado.
M1Y: What got you into cheerleading and when did you start?
Lauren: I’m a girlie girl, athletic, and out going so I always thought cheerleading was a perfect fit for me. I started cheerleading in 6th grade, cheered through high school, and continued on to cheer at University of Colorado in Boulder (CO, USA).
M1Y: What does a good cheerleader do?
Lauren: A good cheerleader stays in shape, is dedicated to the squad, and stays positive even when the team is down or losing!
M1Y: Do you face the field or the fans, how does that work?
Lauren: Cheerleaders for the most part face the fans, because we are in fact “cheer leaders” so our job is to get the fans pumped up and cheer on the team as well. Of course we also need to watch the game (facing the field) to see what’s going on and what specific cheers we need to be projecting to the crowd.
M1Y: Have you been dropped? Hurt?
Lauren: Being dropped comes with the territory, although safety first and is a huge part of cheerleading. When attempting new stunts, there is a good chance you will fall a few times until you can stick them, therefore you ALWAYS need lots of spotters around the stunt to catch you if you fall. In high school cheerleading and in college they are very strict about that rule! If for some reason a girl is completely dropped and nobody catches her, it usually ends in some sort of disciplinary action, such as running drills or push ups. Only time I’ve truly been hurt by being dropped out of a stunt was at practice in high school. I tore most of the ligaments in my ankle. Oh, it was very painful!
M1Y: What's the thing with male cheerleaders?
Lauren: Haha, male cheerleaders, I actually get asked this question a lot. College is usually when male cheerleaders are needed for partner stunts, and surprisingly most of them played sports in High School such as football. The rumor is that all male cheerleaders are homosexual, but that is not the case. In fact all the guys I cheered with are VERY MUCH Heterosexual and love the fact they get to throw petite girls in short skirts up into the air!
M1Y: What's the thing with cheerleaders and football players? (Don't mean to offend)
Lauren: Not offended at all, but to be honest, most cheerleaders I know aren’t into the football players. Of course you will find your occasional “jersey chaser”, however I’ve find that those types of girls usually aren’t cheerleaders at all. In college the cheerleaders were encouraged not to interact with the football players, and we had to workout at the athletic center during hours the football team was not training or lifting weights. There reasoning behind this was that they thought we would be a “distraction”. So, I think the "cheerleader always dates the football player" is mostly a high school thing, or even more something you’ll see in the movies.
M1Y: What is it the most you liked about cheering?
Lauren: The thing I loved the most about cheerleading was the stunts, being thrown in the air, and all the life long friends I’ve made along the way.
M1Y: Anything you hated?
Lauren: I'm not a huge fan of conditioning but staying in shape is extremely important in this sport.
We found out after we talked to Lauren, that she was the first young lady from the beautiful little town of Glenwood Springs who made it to the cheerleading squad of the biggest university in the state, paving the way for many of her fellow Glenwooders (do you even say that?). Congratulations Lauren!