9. “I don’t want to go outside. The sun is out there.”
22. “OO THE TEAM IS COMING OUT. ROLL DAMN TIDE, Y’ALL.”
Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.
1. You always had bobby pins with you.
2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.
3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...
4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.
5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.
6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.
7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.
8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.
9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).
10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."
11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.
12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.
13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.
14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.
15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.
16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.
17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.
18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.
19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.
20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.
For 14 years I lived in Southern California, a hub for sports like tennis and water polo; many players that eventually sign to play division 1 sports or eventually enter the professional tennis world get their start in the sunny climate of California. Growing up near the greater Los Angeles area meant that I lived near where the greatest female tennis player of all time got her start. It's common knowledge that both Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams have roots in Compton, a blue-collar city in Los Angeles known for its high crime rates.
I had the amazing opportunity of seeing Serena play in 2016 at the BNP Paribas played in Indian Wells, CA. Watching her sure power and her commandment of the court left me in awe. Growing up as a young girl playing tennis practically ensures having Serena as an idol, and I was no different. Naturally, seeing her slammed by critics for her outburst during the US Open earlier this September left me appalled. Set to win her 24th Grand Slam title, Williams lost to Naomi Osaka, the first Japanese man or woman to win a Grand Slam.
The problem that many see as controversial is the treatment of Williams by umpire Carlos Ramos, citing Williams's "verbal abuse" that cost her a game penalty and the point penalty because of a smashed racquet. This especially infuriated me because the male tennis players are frequently celebrated for their emotional outbursts; they are praised for their passion. This incident goes back to the traditional gender roles that we as a society celebrate. When a woman asserts, her dominance, she's bossy. When a man does, he's the man. We as a society accept anger more when it comes from a man than from a woman, and it needs to stop. The first step is recognizing sexism where it happens, which is what Serena did. I am now even more proud to call her my idol.