Thinking back to three years ago, I would have never thought I would be where I am today. As a junior in high school, I was approached by friends who were on my high school cheer team and asked if I would be interested in joining the team and now three years later, I’m cheering at the collegiate level during a pandemic.
Ending last season at an all-time high and low with our men’s basketball team making it to the final game of Arch Madness and then not even a week later the outbreak of COVID-19 canceling the women’s basketball tournament. The current pandemic has for sure made things interesting for me and my team as a whole.
During a regular-season we would have practice at least three times a week and then also cheering at one or two games, making it a pretty tight schedule with our academic responsibilities on top of that. But with current protocols and social distancing, we have limited our practices to once a week to reduce contact among our teammates. With this limitation comes a great impact on the way we prepare and train.
Having to learn a great amount of material and working with new teammates, which requires learning how to stunt with a new group and team as a whole, the limitations have affected how we spend our time at practices. We spend the majority of our time working on stunts that we would normally spend in the first couple of weeks learning, but now have spread across the whole first semester, putting a strain on other aspects of our preparations.
Although this may sound like a negative, we have bettered ourselves by learning how to work better as a team through communication, setting goals among ourselves, leadership, organization and most importantly having fun all the while. We have not yet voted on leadership, but we all acknowledge and recognize our strongest leader, Becca Wireman.
Becca has persevered and remained positive throughout our current situation to offer guidance and many qualities of a great leader to bring our team together to make the best of her senior season. With no games going on, it has been hard to realize what we do this for, but we can only hope that the start of the second semester can bring a new beginning and normalization to our regular practice schedule and regularity of games.
With so much uncertainty of what lies ahead for all sports teams at Valpo, I know that we all have one common goal -- getting back to the one thing that we have dedicated so much time to day in and day out that normalizes our everyday lives as a collegiate athlete! Go Valpo, Go Crusaders!