Netflix Original “Cheer” Shines Light on Modern-Day Cheerleading

(Photo/ Buzzfeed)

Rachel Stanton, Social Media Director

When a person thinks of cheerleading, people often think about popular, blonde girls standing on the sidelines of a football game, shaking their pom-poms. In reality, cheerleading is much more.

 Netflix’s new Original Series, “Cheer,” released on Jan. 8, dives deep into what cheerleading is truly about: stunts, tumbling, competition, teamwork and unexpected injuries. The producers follow the 13-time National Champion Cheerleading team from Navarro Community College, a small two-year school in Corsicana, Texas.

The main focus of the team is Daytonathe National Cheerleading Association Collegiate Nationalswhere the team will get 2 minutes and 15 seconds to prove that they are the best team in the country. In this two minute routine, squads must be perfect in all aspects, but specifically the pyramid, a stunt with all members on the mat. 

(Photo/ Bustle)
The Navarro Cheer team practices their stunts before Daytona.

Although the squad prepares for Daytona months in advance, the biggest competition is between the members of the team for one of the 20 spots on the mat. Only 9 girls and 11 boys will be picked to perform the routine in front of the judges to defend their National Championship title. 

The team consists of both boys and girls from different states, families and economic statuses. Gabi Butler, the most famous cheerleader on the team, grew up in Florida competing for an All-Star team. From a young age, Gabi was a star on the mat. She gained a following on social media and began modeling for popular cheerleading magazines. Her teammate, Morgan Simianer, grew up very differently. Morgan lived with her grandparents after her father abandoned her for a new family. She suffered from depression, but she used cheerleading as a coping mechanism. Similarly, Lexi Brumback, a Houston, Texas native, is a high school dropout who uses tumbling as an escape from the abundance of drugs and bad influences around her. For the boys, cheerleading is a source of happiness that receives much backlash from their families and the rest of society. LaDarius Marshall grew up in a foster home with his brothers who constantly tormented him about being too soft. Like the rest of society, his brothers tried to force masculine activities such as football on him, yet he did not give in. “Cheer” shows the nation the difficulty of cheerleading and proves to society that it is a masculine sport after all. 

After premiering less than a month ago, “Cheer” has gone viral. The show received a 93 percent rating on the “Tomatometer” by Rotten Tomatoes and a 96% audience rating. The cast appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show to perform a live routine and discuss how the show has changed their lives.

 Viewers don’t know where the future of “Cheer” lies. Fans would love to see a second season of the docuseries, however, according to the National Cheer Association rules, teams are not allowed to be filmed if it includes the team or the school being portrayed in a negative way. However, this is not the case as “Cheer” depicts cheerleading as a sport of its own, rather than a sideline attachment to football games.