My name is Emilie Parsons and I was born and raised here in Spartanburg. This year I’m a Junior, and a little scared that I’ll be a senior next year because I don’t want High School to end, even though school work may be tough sometimes I know I’ll look back and cherish those late nights and pop quizzes. Just a little about me, when I turned three I began to live with my Grandparents after my dad joined the military which taught me to always appreciate what your given and never take anything for granted, especially your parents. My dad was a football player in High School who received a full ride scholarship to North Greenville University and later went semi-pro but stopped after an injury. He inspired me to be a cheerleader, because he would always say it would teach me teamwork and how to have a positive attitude (he was right). But most importantly he told me that school always came first, if you had an education you’ll always have hope that there’s a better future. While I may not have seen him everyday I always knew that he was always thinking about me and was proud of me no matter what happened that day. However, it was always my Grandparents that were there everyday to keep pushing me when I felt like quitting.
Being away from my dad so much was really hard because I felt like an outsider to all the other kids and always wanted to know where he was. Many of my classmates did not know why I got upset when they kept talking about how much they hated their parents and constantly messed with me for being unsociable when I was only trying to do what my dad and my grandparents told which is to ignore drama and only focus on what your there to do. But it’s not that easy, there were many days that people got to me, but I know that my dad would not want me to dwell on the negative things people would say and I always eventually forgot about what I was upset about. However, the teachers and administrators did understand me and would always find ways to help me and make me laugh.
When I started cheerleading I had the same mindset most people have about cheer, but that soon changed. I realized that you learn more than cheers and dances; you learn respect, teamwork, and the will power to continue to do something that most people don’t even pay attention to even though they couldn’t do it themselves. When I entered high school I thought that I would never make it to the Varsity level because people would always tell me that I was too tall to tumble or that there was just to many people better that me, but I did because I didn’t quit and I went to the gym and trained till I got those mental blocks out of my head and got a back-handspring (that’s the requirement for tumbling on Varsity) because this sport is 10% physical and 90% mental truly.
After High School I’m hoping to double major in Forensic Physcology and Forensic Science at the University of Washington in St. Louis or the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and later have a career in crime prevention by studying what criminals are going through mentally that push them to committing crimes while using Forensic science for job security in a very competitive time.
I have always loved the bands like Journey, because my dad would always play Don’t Stop Believing and Faithfully in the car when he was back before being deployed again, however I have big passion for classical music and am the 1st chair violist in the Symphony Orchestra and sing 2nd Soprano in the Chorale. It’s amazing the feelings that can be generated by not saying anything at all. Just as a side note, my favorite place in world as most teenagers is Taco Dog:)
The first time I met Coach Pat (Patrick) I knew she had a vision to turn Spartanburg’s bad cheerleading record into a competitive force in the state. Most people do not know that what we do at football games is not our sport. Our sport involves a practice every day of the week where we drill tumbling and stunting that most people never see. The SCHSL restricts what cheerleaders can do at games do to safety reasons. Spartanburg Cheer in the past has had a tradition of being great football cheerleaders, but when it came to competition the difficulty was not there. Now due to a new push in Competitive cheerleading by the athletic program and Coach Pat’s guidance, Spartanburg high School is finally being recognized throughout the state as a competitor. We have 16 running tucks, 6 advanced running tumblers, 15 standing tucks, 6 hand-stand full ups, and 6 low-to-highs, most people do not realize how impressive that is but it is. There are 24 people (6 stunt groups) allowed on a competitive mat, so as an out look that is a majority that put us in the same scoring range as some of the top teams in the state. Cheerleading is not just a 4 month sport, we have an off-season and we are in the gym year-long working for harder skills and striving to be the best.
The teams overall best memory was finally qualifying for state and being the first name called out at qualifiers because every school knew how amazing it was for us to make it. Only those who follow competitive cheerleading know how hard it is to make it to state, it’s what every team in the state strives for. Not only did we qualify for state out of 36 teams we came in the top ten (unheard of in Spartanburg history) while only having 5 stunt groups when most teams had 6. This has only fueled our desire for more.
As far as the Dorman rivalry goes, it’s a little intense. We see people from Dorman all the time in tumbling and other events, so some of us know each other very well. While I’ve been at Spartanburg High School the rivalry has turned from a completely angry and hateful rivalry to a healthy competition for each school. Beating Dorman is used as a motivation in test scores and sports teams just simply to have bragging rights over people we tend to see a lot. In preparing for the Dorman game, that week is typically Think Pink week were we compete against Dorman for who can raise the most money for the American Cancer Society, however due to Dorman having a defunct Student Council and this year being an away game Think Pink was moved to Byrnes. However as most people know, Beat Dorman T-shirts will still be sold. The cheerleading bus has extra excitement on Dorman Day, because we believe in our team and know that they can win, which they tend to do a lot. It really helps cheerleading teams when there football team is really good because it makes them want to represent their school to the best of their ability and gives them pride when they walk through the Competition doors on Saturday.
The hardest thing about being a cheerleader is definitely the mental blocks. Cheerleading is one of only sports when you hold your own and others people life in you hands. If a flyer is not caught when falling she can be paralyzed are ever killed which all bases know that adds to their fear because the do not what to be responsible for that and would agree that having the breath knocked out of them or a few punches to the face is worth it. But also the tumble you see on the sidelines is dangerous, one mistake and a life changing injury can occur. But at the end of the season when we get together and reflect we realize that we had the times of our lives, because we all did things we did not know we could do, all with the help of each other. We became a family.
GO VIKES. #BEATDORMAN!