Nov. 9, 2020
By Carolyne Mooney
After a late start to the football season due to the pandemic, the cheerleaders are back and showing their support for the Golden Bears. While they are not able to travel to away games, the cheerleaders are cheering and performing during halftime games played at LHS.
Head Coach Ruiz said due to Covid-19 restrictions, the cheerleaders cannot fully display their talent this season.
“This season is unlike any I have ever encountered. The fact that I bought cones [to space out the cheerleaders] over the summer for cheerleading practice is crazy to me, but it was and is necessary to maintain groups and social distancing within the team,” Ruiz said.
She said it has always been a struggle for the team to be loud enough for the crowd to hear, but this year is even more challenging because of the masks that are worn at all times except during the halftime routine.
“The usual format for our halftime [routine] is opening, opening partner stunt sequence, jumps, tumble pass with additional dance and closing dance,” Ruiz said.
She said because of Covid-19, stunts have been eliminated from this year’s halftime routine. Although there have been many disappointments and changes this season, Ruiz said the team continues to come together and foster a love for the sport.
“Not being able to stunt was a great disappointment for the team, but we bounced back with a shorter routine that still has a lot of exciting elements to showcase the talents for the team,” Ruiz said.
She said the pandemic has brought out the maturity in her cheerleaders.
“They are understanding, have the ability to adapt and have made this difficult season a lot easier than I thought it was going to be,” Ruiz said. “I am always proud of my team for different reasons… but there is something altogether special about this group of athletes and their ability to make lemonade out of the lemons we were handed this season.”
Senior Gabby Frey, who serves as captain alongside seniors Maya Malizia and Isabella Rivera, said she wishes her team were able to have a normal season.
“Before the season starts, we [the captains] get to pick the spirit wear and what design goes on it,” Frey said. “During the games, we get to call all the cheers, make the halftime routine and pick the music out.”
“I am always proud of my team for different reasons… but there is something altogether special about this group of athletes and their ability to make lemonade out of the lemons we were handed this season.”
Frey said these responsibilities can be both stressful and entertaining.
“I wish we could’ve had a normal season, ” Frey said. “I would’ve also liked going to away games and just honestly hav[ing] the crowd there.”
She said the loss of the Bear Cave cheering section at games has affected the cheerleaders’ performance because it is a struggle to entertain when the bleachers are empty.
“We can’t have pizza parties like we used to before the games as a cheer team, and we can’t do the Thursday night dinners with the football team either,” Frey said.
She said wearing a mask can be extremely bothersome during long games.
Sophomore Olivia Nowinski said she hopes to continue this season with an upbeat attitude despite only being able to cheer at a few games.
“Compared to last season, I think this year is not what I expected due to Covid-19 because we have so many restrictions,” Nowinski said.
Nowinski said in cheerleading, everyone has to be on the same page and willing to work with each other to come up with ideas. She also said it is important to stay positive during times like these.
“It’s different not having a full halftime routine. We aren’t able to stunt,” Nowinski said. “We aren’t able to do a full outgoing routine that I know my team could do.”