When people go to a sporting event they expect big moments, dramatic plays and, of course, cheerleaders.
With all that goes on during the game, one might overlook some of the things that the cheerleaders do. They might think that all there is to cheerleading is acting happy to try and hype the crowd up during the game. But we often glaze over the athleticism, coordination and teamwork that goes into the sport of cheerleading.
“We cheer at basketball, football and we try to make it to a bunch of different community service events and we also compete,” said Rowan Cheerleading President Madison Dean. “This year is actually our most successful year. We made it to finals our third year in a row and we also placed fourth in the nation this year out of 16 teams.”
Rowan cheerleading is a club sport on campus, meaning that it is a student run club. Dean has said that she is the one who sets up events, does a majority of the paperwork and setting up things for competition. The team leaders have to handle the “behind-the-scene” aspects, as Dean puts it.
For some on the team, they started long before their college careers were ever set in motion.
“I started [cheering] in kindergarten and I just kind of kept up with it,” said cheerleader Lindsey Dowling. “I wasn’t really good at any other sport so I stayed with it.”
As cheerleaders, they are well aware of the stereotypes surrounding their sport, specifically in regards to people’s ignorance of the fact that they compete in competitions.
“I don’t think many people know that we actually compete,” Dean said. “And [we have to] explain ‘Yeah we actually go to a competition in Disney [World]. and we competed against 16 other teams and we came out as the top five out of those sixteen teams,’and everyone is always just so shocked because they’re like, ‘We didn’t even know Rowan cheer was a thing.’ We get so excited and we’re like ‘No we are, we are!’”
Dowling states that some of the other colleges in their division, the Open All Girls division, are The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Widener University and Suffolk University.
According to Dean, they competed at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports where they also received some national coverage.
“We’re not very well known,” Dowling said. “But we are trying to put ourselves up there.”
As with any college sport though, it can be easy for most to forget that these women are students on top of being athletes. For some this could be too much stress to handle but in the case of these women, it helps them a great deal.
“Time management is a big thing,” Dowling said. “It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time so time management is really helpful with that and it helps me with my school life too. Cheerleading gave me all my friends. Overall it’s made me a better person. It’s not like an individual sport. It requires teamwork.”
The team has created and will continue to create a lot of great memories together. The thing that they both said keeps them going with cheerleading is “friends.” Not only will they share memories together but life lessons to assist them in not just college life but everyday life as well.
“Working as a team is vital to any career you’re going to have or even in a classroom setting working with fellow students,” Dowling said. “You just learn that it’s not all about you, you have to put others before you and if you don’t work as a team, nothing’s gonna go right.”
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