Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Guilty Pleasures: Cheer


ALL OR NOTHING Netflix's docuseries Cheer dives into the heart of Navarro College's competitive cheerleading team. - IMAGE COURTESY OF NETFLIX
  • Image Courtesy Of Netflix
  • ALL OR NOTHING Netflix's docuseries Cheer dives into the heart of Navarro College's competitive cheerleading team.

When? 2020

What's it rated? TV-MA

Where's it available? Netflix

Ready? OK! One, two, three, four, cheerleading is a sport I never thought about before ... until now. I should also confess that I never really thought about cheerleading as a sport, but that all changed once I started watching Cheer, a Netflix original docuseries.

Warning: minor spoiler ahead! Cheer follows the lives of the (now) 14-time National Champion Navarro College Cheer Team.

In case you were wondering, the college is located in the small town of Corsicana, Texas, and ambitious youth come from all over the country just to see if they have what it takes to be a Navarro cheerleader.

The co-ed squad, coached by Monica Aldama, is the official cheer squad for all athletic teams of the community college.

Let me just put that into perspective for a moment. Not only do these young women and men practice and train for pep rallies and games, they also train for their own competition.

The squad spends hours on perfecting a two minute and 15 second routine for the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. I cannot stress how difficult and physically draining the routine is and the hours spent to get it right.

It's amazing to see the young women propelled by their male counterparts into the air while simultaneously performing stunts—in mid-air. At the same time, it can really put you on the edge of your seat when a girl falls because she wasn't properly caught at the end of her stunt and gets injured (this happens a few times, and the injuries vary from minor to severe).

Now, just because you've made the Navarro cheerleading team does not mean you'll make it to "mat." There are about 38 to 40 people on the entire team, but only 20 will be selected to perform the routine at the championship competition. Those 20 could change, at the direction of Aldama and her coaching team, due to injures, lack of confidence in a teammate, low stamina, and this is just a small list of what she's looking at.

Aldama is a hard-ass who is passionate about winning but just as passionate when it comes to her kids (cheer squad).

Throughout the film, we get an intimate glimpse of the lives of the squad members: their upbringings and what got them into the cheer world.

The stories are not what I would have expected. Many of the teammates have experienced neglect from parents, the death of a parent, have made wrong choices, or experienced discrimination because of their sexual identity.

It's hard not to root for every single person on that team who has overcome hardships, and, for some, it was cheerleading that got them through it.

Interestingly enough, after college, there is no athletic cheer squad that men and women can be drafted into, like football or baseball. So for many, this is it. It's the most difficult and rewarding time in their life. (Six episodes, 52 to 62 min.) Δ


Add a comment