The Netflix original docuseries “Cheer” has blown up since its debut in January. It follows the Navarro College cheer squad as they prepare for the NCA collegiate national cheer competition in Florida. It is up to Navarro head cheer coach Monica Aldama and the hard work of the squad to uphold their reputation as the consistent NCA collegiate national champions.
Of the forty cheerleaders on the squad, only twenty of them make “the mat,” which means that only twenty of them are chosen to compete in the collegiate cheerleading national championships. Among these chosen are Gabi Butler, Jerry Harris, La’Darius Marshall, Lexi Brumback, and Morgan Simianer. Throughout the six episodes of the docuseries, the backgrounds of these athletes are revealed, and so is what brought each of them to Navarro.
The docuseries portray cheerleading in a way that breaks the traditional image of girls in high ponytails standing on the sidelines getting the audience pepped up. While that kind of cheerleading is an authentic and honorable sport, competitive cheerleading is a different idea.
Competitive cheerleading combines tumbling, stunts, and jumps into a routine that is used to compete in competitions against other competitive cheer squads. Each team learns a new, unique routine nearly each competition that they use to compete. The docuseries is a big hit for the MC cheerleaders.
“I think the documentary provides an accurate look at what competition cheer looks like,” said MC cheer captain Jordan Berry. “It’s as demanding as any other sport, and as far as teamwork, cheer does it best.”
The series displays just how much competitive cheerleaders have to go through regularly. As a former competitive dancer, Berry compared her dance experience to what competitive cheerleaders undergo.
“Although it wasn’t exactly the same, it is similar as far as time commitment. In the competitive world, I was at the gym six days a week,” Berry said. The docuseries has reached audiences much farther than the cheer community. Sophomore Erika Donovan loved watching the docuseries.
“Something I really loved about it is how we got to learn about the backgrounds of some of the cheerleaders,” Donovan said. “If the documentary hadn’t explained how Lexi got to Navarro, I never would’ve understood why she took a while to warm up to her teammates, and the same with Morgan.”
Sophomore Grace Kidd was amazed at what these athletes have to condition through.
“Being thrown into the air and having to flip or stand on someone’s hands isn’t something to be taken lightly, and that’s only part of it,” Kidd said. She went on to talk about her favorite cheerleader on the docuseries.
“Lexi is my favorite because she worked really hard to find a place that was able to help her. She put in all the work and look at her now,” Kidd said. Lexi’s rough upbringing is explained in the series.
Senior Rachel Strickland has a different view on the docuseries.
“I think the show could bring more awareness to injuries, especially head injuries, because it shows how people ignore them to win,” Strickland said. “That is not a good motto to have.” Many cheerleaders are affected by tendon tears, rib fractures, concussions, and more throughout the docuseries. The injured are often benched, but sometimes the athletes push through the injury.
You can catch the docuseries “Cheer” anytime on Netflix. To keep up with Navarro’s cheer squad, their official Instagram is @Navarro_College_Cheer, and their twitter handle is @Navarro_Cheer.