Caroline Wallace ’23
Last spring, when the pandemic sent everyone home from school, the competitive season for Holy Cross’ cheer team came to an abrupt stop. The cheer team had been preparing all season to finally be able to compete at the NCA Nationals in Daytona Beach. As Captain Katie Vanasse put it, “the most crucial part of our season was impacted. We were unable to compete at Nationals in Daytona in spring of 2020 and 2021.” Captain Molly Murphy stated that it has been more difficult for cheer to return to a normal season due to the fact that “one of the main components of cheer is stunting and that requires close contact.”
However, being able to finally cheer at the recent home football game was a “breath of fresh air” for Vanasse. Captain Molly Murphy shared the same excitement as Vanasse, but also explained some of the obstacles the cheer team faces because of the COVID guidelines. At the recent game, “we were required to cheer in the bleachers on the opposite side of the field from our home team, whereas we normally get to stand directly on the sidelines of the field.” For the cheer team, these COVID-safe guidelines presented them with the challenge of attempting to still keep the fans engaged while remaining so physically distant from them. Other challenges included adjusting their normal routines that require close contact such as stunting and dancing.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the future of the cheer team and its competitive season remains uncertain. However, the two captains remain hopeful that next season will look more normal. Murphy remarked that “depending on the state of the pandemic, stunting still might not be allowed since it requires such close contact, but I have hope that we’ll get back to a regular schedule once the next academic year begins.” Captain Vanasse hopes that more students becoming vaccinated will also bring more normalcy to the team that will allow us “to have a regular practice and game schedule.”
Vanasse included that she missed “the sense of community we gained from being part of the team.” However, the cheer team being able to participate in the most recent home football game offered the Holy Cross community some positivity in the midst of the pandemic. Their ability to cheer with COVID-safe precautions brought excitement to the team and gave them the sense that they may be able to finally practice, compete, and cheer together on a regular basis in the near future.