Getting in gear to cheer

Let’s go, Tigers” was a familiar phrase heard throughout the Women’s Gymnasium on Monday. Members of the GSU cheerleading team were doing their usual routine – getting geared up for the upcoming football game.”Its hard work!” said one of the cheerleading captains, Steven Long from Irving, Texas. “This is not a high school squad, it’s collegiate,” he said.

Running, jumping, tumbling, partner stunting is the daily routine of the cheerleading team. Though this may look easy, after watching practice one time any observer would have a totally new outlook.

Like many students in extracurricular activities, cheerleaders attend classes all day and arrive at practice at 5:30 p.m. and leave when it’s dark.

“It’s a lot of work into it,” said Cory Patt, a junior from Dallas. “Cheerleading gives me a better outlook on the world.”

According to Lysie Ransaw, a senior from Romulus, Mich., many expect cheerleaders to be a size zero, light-skinned and happy. In spite of those theories, GSU has shown that none of those really matter.

When you walk into the practice gym you see members who have different attitudes, shapes and sizes. Ransaw joined the cheerleading team after she saw a good team and a great coach. “After seeing them perform, I couldn’t resist,” she said.

This year there are 60 cheerleaders. According to Terry Lilly, cheerleading coach, many of the older members are preparing for graduation. “I am using this as a tool to teach the new members so it can be a smooth transition from old to new,” he said.

However, Long says it’s very difficult because they have a large squad. “They’re (new members) young and they listen, but you have to tell them what to do instead of them knowing it instantly.”

For students wanting to become part of the GSU cheerleading team, Long encourages them to “be healthy, have a great personality, know how to do a backhand spring and not to be fearful of the crowd.”

Nonetheless, Lilly said many students who try out wonder how someone who wasn’t better than them made it, and not them. “We have a judging panel that decides who makes it . . Sometimes I can see potential in some people that may not be fully displayed during tryouts.”

In 2005, the team placed sixth at NCA National Cheer and Dance Championship.