Areil Stanczyk

front row: ONYAH KHANG(Captain),KAYLA SALLY(Captain)

We all know about SPASH Football but how much do you know about the team that stands on the sidelines and cheers them on whether they win or lose.  SPASH Cheer is one of many sports here at our high school but one of the few unappreciated sports here. The team itself doesn’t get much credit for everything they do for the school.

The History of Cheerleading and how it started is one that you may find interesting and quite surprising. Cheerleading was created in the 1880’s by men at Princeton College to cheer on their football team. One man took it all the way to Minnesota, where it was becoming popular. His name was Thomas Peebles. It wasn’t until 1923 that women were allowed to participate in the sport. During this decade they started adding tumbles and acrobatics to their routines and colleges used flashcards. 

Although women weren’t joining nearly as much in the 20’s compared to the 40’s. The reasoning was that all the men and college-aged men were leaving to go help fight in World War II. 

The original purpose of it still stands today and that is to cheer on the male dominated sports and have high spirits even if they lose.  Cheerleaders were used to create school spirit and support other athletes such as football players, also a marketing tool for school athletics.

The few events they do are MR.SPASH, the homecoming pep rally and half time show for the homecoming game. Onyah Kang one of our current captains of the SPASH cheer teams, Onyah Khang, a senior, said she joined cheer after watching the team perform her sophomore year. She has been cheering for 2 years and tried out for the Captain spot after not liking how the previous captains ran things. Onyah said “ Being a role model for the team comes naturally to me because I am a role model in my family already as a big sister, aunt and daughter.” 

Onyah Khang

Onyah also said,” it can be a struggle sometimes with personal drama and outside drama people bring in, also when people don’t put in a lot of effort during practices and games.” She said she enjoyed cheering even though they don’t do many events. People treat her highly as a cheerleader which makes her feel seen as a person. She also said when someone tells her that cheer “isn’t a real sport” it makes her ask then why are video games considered a sport. being someone who has seen the hard work these cheerleaders put into what they do, many of the cheerleaders think they deserve more appreciation.

Cheerleading at SPASH  nowadays is nothing compared to how it was in the 1990’s. I was able to get an interview with a former SPASH cheerleader she cheered for from 1991-1993. Her name is Sherri Stanczyk  her biggest struggle was her southern accent because she moved from Mississippi to Wisconsin. She joined cheerleading to meet people and to make friends.  

Sherri Stanczyk

When asked if cheerleading is different now than it was when she cheered here at SPASH Sherri said, “ Yes, absolutely it is different because back then we were considered a sport, and got the same amount of recognition as any of the other sports did. We went to competitions sometimes only twice a year.” her senior year they brought home the state championship for SPASH. She wished more guys would have been on the team. 

Sherri also said “ people would tell me cheer isn’t a sport all the time. Because people who didn’t cheer or understand it didn’t know how much work was put into it. Only the guys and girls on the team really understood because they were on the team and went through our practices and went to our competitions.”

SPASH cheer is very different now compared to the 90’s as it was stated. The one thing that was clear was that Cheer is very unappreciated still today here at SPASH. Sure it wasn’t as bad in the 90’s but the cheer team is no longer allowed to do everything they were able to do not even 28 years ago. The cheerleading team doesn’t get recognized as a team here at SPASH. 

Their Seniors also don’t get recognized at the football games like the Senior football players do compared to other schools who appreciate their cheer teams. Imagine if we had a cheer team that did competitions and more half-time shows. The team could win trophies for our school and have the crowd at the games excited and entertained  versus their boredom  waiting for the game. The team would have more respect at SPASH and not be seen as an unnecessary asset to the school unless there are football games. Therefore the Cheer team should be able to do more events, and have more opportunities to do stuff for SPASH.