Cheer Tryouts During Covid-19

I’m standing in the school gym, It’s December and I’m warming up.  On one side of me – six feet away is Alyssa, on the other side – six feet away is Natalie. We are wearing masks. The water fountains are covered.  The outside halls are quiet.  I’ve already filled out my covid form letting the coach know I have known symptoms.   This is what athletic tryouts look like this year. 

During the regular season, tryouts would usually be held near the end of a school year and athletes would have the opportunity to practice throughout the summer. However, due to Covid and the previous school year being cut short from quarantine, the tryout process for sports had become very different and the rules became more strict. The tryouts for winter/fall sports were held during early December in the small and big gyms of Menchville. All of the athletes had to stay at least six feet apart and follow guidelines each day. Before 3PM we were all expected to fill out a covid form to keep our coaches updated on our health, we couldn’t use the water fountains, and we could barely interact with one another.

Being a cheerleader myself and experiencing last year’s tryouts compared to this year, everything felt completely different, and due to all of us  having to stay apart, we lacked the social and fun aspect of cheer. Once the final day of tryouts had finally come around everything happened so fast I didn’t know whether to feel nervous or excited. All of the cheerleaders from varsity and JV were in the gym and we were practicing our cheers and dances from tryouts again. After some time had gone by our coach had told us that the judges had arrived and we were all given numbers and separated into groups. As we all waited I felt the most anxious but at the same time relaxed because I was trying to build my confidence before my group was called. Once my group was finally trying out everything went so quickly: we completed our dances and cheers in less than ten minutes, and then we were on our way. Our coach had notified us that if we were to be picked for the team we would know, and I remember getting the text that I had made the team again and all of my anxiety went away.

Even though tryouts were very different this year I can say I did enjoy the process for what it was. As a student-athlete I can say that I am thankful for even being given the opportunity to try out and still participate in cheer through this pandemic.