As I sat on the top row of Eagle Mountain,Etowah High Schools Football Stadium Labor Day weekend,the clock winding down.I’m coming to the realization that we are gonna lose.I feel as though we should have won,but it’s not gonna happen.
Throughout the evening a lady who sat a few feet away had cheered and referee calls along with a lot of us.She also watched the cheerleaders with a passion. A mother of a cheerleader, I suppose.I thought of everything that had went into myself getting to that point that day. My day starting at 445 am ,getting off work early,stocking the cooler,snacks,playlist,picking up my son,driving,stopping to eat,stuck in traffic,etc…It was a long day in a fan’s life.
and I probably had not come close to what that mother and daughter had invested in that day up to that point.The Sweat.The Time.The Money. I could not hold a candle to that.
I don’t know which girl was her daughter.I don’t even know her name.I do know she was right there on the top row..she was definitely part of THE VIKING NATION. She wasn’t there just to be social.She wasn’t there just to support her daughter.She was there as a fan.
Cheerleaders work hard.Let’s go ahead and get that statement out-of-the-way. They Practice and make the road trips just like everybody else.They suffer injuries.They make banners and encourage you to get on your feet make some noise and cheer.Sometimes we listen,more often than not,we are too involved in the action on the field.
So I decided to try to learn a little more about the unsung heroes,that are wrongly often forgotten. I wanted to see who they were and what they were about..because I knew they deserve a large portion of the applause that gets directed towards the gridiron.
“The hardest thing about Cheering is that it is a very mental sport”,said Lexi Thorton,(Pictured at left) a Junior Cheerleader from Spartanburg High School. “You have to be mentally strong to do your tumbling and do the hard stunts.” Lexi ,who plans to go to college and pursue a degree in Physical Therapy is part of what is people are saying is one the best cheer teams in Viking History. The Viking Cheerleaders made it to state last year for the first time. “Coach Pat has always been a Coach that pushes us to be our best and never give up”, Thorton went on to say.
On the day I’m writing this Spartanburg has just won The 2016 Woodmont Invitational.
Junior Destiny Shippy (pictured at right) said,” it’s been a long time coming and a long fight for SHS Cheer.It feels so amazing to finally see your hard work pay off.” Destiny continued,”when they called out first place to Spartanburg High.. all we could say was it only gets better,we’re so lucky to have a coach who has cheered all through high school and college because when she is pushing us and driving us to be better we know she’s been through the same pain.. so there’s no time for excuses”
Coach Ashley Patrick (pictured below) came up often when I spoke to some of the girls.She is highly respected for her work ethic as well as her genuine love of the sport. Ashley Patrick took over the competitive cheer program in 2014. A graduate of the University of South Carolina. Ashley was a two-time All-American cheerleader for the Gamecocks in 2012 and ’13. She competed in the NCA College Nationals and helped the team achieve multiple top-five finishes.
Patrick is a 2010 graduate of Spartanburg High School,was a member of the Vikings’ cheer squad that reached state in 2009. It was the only year the school has qualified for the state meet until last season.
The Spartanburg High School Vikings Cheer is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.It shouldn’t be a after thought every time you enter a stadium.So the next time you are at a football game.Tell a Cheerleader thanks for everything they do. They deserve it.They have EARNED IT.
SHS VIKINGS CHEER
Adettrice Jones, Alexis Lancaster, Brooke Jackson, Cammie Myers, Chase Thompson Destiny Shippy, Dynasty Samuel, Ella Hardigree, Ellie Cecil, Emilie Parsons, Erica Pharis Essence Jackson, Jessica Dattero, Kamryn Walker, Lexi Thornton, Logan Sandor, Lundy Camp, Mally McCormack, Marlee Cauthen, Mary Winston Traxler, Melia Rucker, Reagan Conard, Toneia Douglas, Breashia Petty, Shar’Breasia Wright, Cameron Gist, Morgan Tabbot, Alea Drummond
Oct. 1: Woodmont Wildcat Invitational
Oct 3: Woodruff Competition
Oct 15: Powdersvile Competition
Oct 22: Carolina Classic @ Furman
Oct 25: REGIONS
After this is TBD because of state qualifiers