Two, Four, Six, Eight, Who Do We Appreciate? LASA Cheerleaders!

Sanwi Sarode, Staff Writer

This year, LASA has established its first ever cheerleading team in the wake of the recent UIL split from LBJ. The new team has had to learn a new fight song and create new dances to start laying a foundation for future LASA teams.

Senior Audrey Trujillo is one of the co-captains of the cheer team and previously cheered on the LBJ team for two years. Trujillo decided to continue cheering with the new LASA team because she wanted to take part in the team’s inaugural year.

“I really wanted to help make a foundation for the new team because I thought that would be really exciting,” Trujillo said.

Cheerleading coach Olga Alvarado said that she is excited about the new cheer team and is looking forward to coaching it. Like Trujillo, Alvarado is excited to establish new traditions for the LASA cheerleading team.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity for the teams to start building new traditions for LASA,” Alvarado said. “I love it because we’re getting to establish ourselves, so that’s kind of neat, especially with a brand new program. You can kind of set the direction for it, and that really excites me.”

The team learns dances, performs stunts and cheers at football and basketball games. Most of their practices are done through meetings on Zoom due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have online practice every Monday and Wednesday for two hours,” Trujillo said, “and that’s our time to go over any events, like football games or homecoming, which is coming up soon.”

According to sophomore Lola DeLeon, a new member of the cheerleading team and one of its co-captains, learning new moves over Zoom isn’t easy. DeLeon said that it is often hard to communicate, and that consistent internet connection is not guaranteed.

“There’s so much lag on Zoom,” DeLeon said. “Everyone’s doing different things at different times, and it’s really confusing. It’s harder to learn because it’s harder to teach things over Zoom or to clean things up over Zoom.”

According to DeLeon, despite technical difficulties the cheerleading team has been working hard to learn their routines and cheers. DeLeon is proud of how far the team has come in their first year.

“We’re not doing too bad for this being our first year as a cheer team,” DeLeon said. “Things will definitely get better, and we’ll learn and improve.”

DeLeon said that even though the team hasn’t met together in person that often, they are getting to know one another as best as they can. The team has been able to form a strong bond and work together at football games to hype up the crowd.

“We’ve done pretty good at being each other’s friends considering we’re on Zoom,” DeLeon said. “We listen to each other, and everyone’s super nice. I think we’re lucky to have been put together so nicely.”

Trujillo said that it was nerve-racking to meet each other for the first time, but they’ve managed to build a strong team dynamic and grow close to one another. According to her, the environment with the other girls is very fun. 

“The team dynamic is very fun,” Trujillo said. “Everyone is just really welcoming. When we all met each other, we were all kind of scared because we were all like, ‘Oh, I don’t know anyone.’ I think I only knew one person on the team, but then within the first football game, we were all really close, which was really cool. Everyone wants to get to know everyone.”

Trujillo appreciates the hard work that the team is putting in this season. She believes that  her fellow cheerleaders’ tenacious and adventurous spirit will pay off in the future.

“I’ve never met people who are as hardworking in cheer as this team,” Trujillo said. “They always want to learn new things and make more content for the team, which I think is going to be very beneficial in the future. You have to work hard for cheer and be dedicated because it can go wrong really easily. Having all new girls who were really invested in the team was really good. You can rely on them, and they’re like a sisterhood and family to me.” 

Alvarado also said that the girls make a good team. According to her they are flexible with scheduling and have a great attitude when it comes to cheer.

“They’re so involved with each other when it comes to cheering that they’ve created such a great atmosphere that everybody feels a part of,” Alvarado said. “I just like their attitude, and they’re just so excited about doing things. I think their flexibility in the program has by far been one of the biggest strengths that they have displayed. The girls have been up and ready to cheer even if there’s a game canceled or in the beginning of the week I find out there’s a game in the middle of the week, and they say, ‘Yes coach, we’ll be there.’ It’s just great to have a team like that.”

Although cheerleading is a physical sport that involves dancing and stunt work, DeLeon said it is a common belief that cheerleading isn’t a real sport. She explained that it’s frustrating to have her sport invalidated by others.

“When I was younger, there were definitely some dumb arguments from people who were like, ‘Oh, cheer isn’t a real sport,’ and I’d get all worked up and try to explain myself,” DeLeon said. “It’s definitely been annoying. If you ever look at competitive cheer and what they do, it’s just so cool, and so few people can do it well. You really can’t deny that [it is] a sport.”

Trujillo said she has also heard comments negating the legitimacy of cheer as a sport. She said that people shouldn’t say cheer isn’t a sport without going through it themselves.

“I’ve heard comments, but not strictly to my face,” Trujillo said. “It does bother me, because we put in so much hard work to make our dances and our cheers look nice and pristine, for someone to say it’s not a lot of work.”

Although the football season is over, the basketball season is just starting. The cheerleading team will cheer at LASA’s home games and will continue to bring their energy and spirit to the sidelines.