by John Downey '23 on January 29, 2022
Arts & Entertainment
Talia Rueda ’23
The new season of Netflix’s Cheer was released on Wednesday, Jan. 12 and quickly reached the top of the streaming platform’s “most watched in the US today” list. It offers a new view of the world of cheerleading as well as inspiring insights on the top two cheer teams in the United States: Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College. Due to their athletes’ intriguing lifestyles and determination, these teams are notorious in the world of cheer.
One notable difference between season one and season two of Cheer is the latter’s attention to Trinity Valley, who are the rivals of Navarro College and were not as represented in season one. The teams’ near-equal screen time emphasizes the similar ways in which they prepare to take on the competition in Daytona Beach, FL. This approach not only adds a new significance to the ways in which both squads devise techniques intended to help them take the top spot in the world of college cheerleading, but also sheds light on commonalities between the cheerleaders on the different teams, such as their similar lifestyles and struggles.
Many of the cheerleaders on both teams come from broken households and have faced everything from financial issues to the incarceration of family members. Although such conditions are certainly tragic in any circumstances, they pose a significant challenge to competitive cheerleaders: cheerleading is an expensive sport that often requires athletes to join multiple teams at once, participate in competitions, and travel extensively. Many of the Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College cheerleaders struggle to pay for these necessities in the sport.
Cheer explores these challenges, but also how athletes are able to overcome them. One cheerleader who undergoes such a journey is Maddy Brum, who joins the Navarro squad in season two. Throughout the season, several of Brum’s team members and coaches reiterate her talent, admiring how she can tumble, fly, and dance, a combination of skills that not everyone on her team possesses. Brum’s upbringing consisted of moving from house to house while her dad was incarcerated and dealing with worsening financial issues.
These struggles, however, did not stop her from cheering: her home gym knew that she struggled with a difficult home life and could not afford to pay for a cheerleading career on her own, but her coaches, recognizing that her talent was undeniable, provided her with a safe and accessible experience.
Stories such as Brum’s are what make Cheer so important; they not only illustrate the ways in which cheerleaders use the sport as an outlet, but also how cheerleading gives them a sense of importance, community, and purpose. Indeed, the experiences of many of the cheerleaders featured in both seasons one and two of Cheer demonstrate that cheerleading has offered them the family dynamic that they were never given. Monica Aldama, who coaches the Navarro team strives to create a positive community for her team. Throughout the series, several of her cheerleaders reiterate that Aldama is like the mother they never had: not only does she give them the foundations and coaching necessary for them to have a future in cheerleading, but also those necessary for them to have stable lives.
In season one of the show, a cheer professional comments that “the cheer world is very insular,” meaning that famous cheer teams and cheerleaders are only known by other cheer teams rather than by the public at large. Cheer offers America a closer look at this world and, in exploring how the sport has given many athletes who face hardships stable and successful futures, which they might not otherwise have, offers an inspirational story of hope.