Date: 26 May 2018
Place: Athletik Zentrum St. Gallen, Parkstrasse 2, St. Gallen
Reading time: 4 minutes.
On May 26th, the Swiss National Championships in Cheerleading and Performance Cheer will take place in St. Gallen. Here’s a list of things you should know when attending.
Reading the schedule
I already explained the different categories and how to read them from the schedule in this post. Keep in mind that even on the day of competition, things can go wrong; kids can turn up late, athletes can get injured in warm-up. Even though the organisers try everything to be on time, delays happen. Be patient! If there’s a team you don’t want to miss, be there a few minutes early in case we’re ahead of schedule, which can happen when teams cancel last-minute.
The schedule usually switches back and forth between two categories. This is done to allow judges time to complete their notes on the previous team. For example: One set of judges evaluates the peewee category, another set judges juniors. So these two categories alternately perform back to back, then when they’re all done the next two categories start with the same system.
Downtimes and breaks
Organising and running a cheer competition is a huge undertaking. There’s usually a good reason for any and all breaks. Sometimes the floor needs to be changed (as Performance Cheer has a different set of mats), and believe it or not, judges need water breaks as well. They sit for about 8 hours straight with no break and all this time, they have to focus on everything that happens on the mat. Also, when a team cancels minutes before their go-time, the above mentioned system of switching categories doesn’t work anymore. If one partner stunt comes right after the previous partner stunt, there will be a few minutes delay because the panel needs time to evaluate before they see the next couple.
Cheerleaders are busy
Your girlfriend said she would love to have you there for support, but then she doesn’t see you at all? Don’t worry, the same happens to all the other boyfriends, mums and dads as well. This is one of the most important competitions for us, and we need to be focused on our team and our performance. Depending on how many categories you compete in, you could be running back and forth between the dressing room, warm up gym, run through mat and competition floor all day. It gets even worse when you’re a coach and you have to watch out for 30 kids who have to eat and drink and pee and by the way they’re bored and want to stunt.
So, if your cheerleader-friend only waves at you from afar and runs off again, don’t be upset – she’ll tell you about her competition day in detail for probably the next two months.
Share the spirit
Cheerleading is an incredibly fair sport where the word “Team Spirit” gets a whole new definition. Of course we’re all there to do our best and represent our own club, and every team brings their own fans. Still, you will see a lot of chatting, hugging and encouraging going on between competing teams. We clap and scream for other teams, because we want them to do well. We’re all there because we have a passion for the sport of cheerleading, and we know that all the other athletes put in the same work that we did throughout the year. Be respectful and adapt this spirit of fairness. Don’t talk smack about teams or athletes. Be a role model for all the young girls competing and attending, and share with us the incredible spirit of the event.
Also, participate in the “Cheer”-portion of everyone’s routines! We will hold up colors and signs for you so you know exactly what you have to shout. Leave your Swiss shyness outside and join the US-inspired, easy-going atmosphere!
This plays into the same point, but I would like to give it a special mention. Award ceremonies can be quite nerve-racking, especially when several teams performed to their best abilities. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the only one in that hall, and your team might not be all that counts for other people.
No matter how well the team you’re rooting for places: Stay quiet until their name is called. For another team, reaching third place might be a huge achievement. They should be able to enjoy their moment in the spotlight! So no matter how happy you are that your team is still in the in the running for first place, clap for the teams that are called and contain your excitement until your team is announced. Check out this video. At 3:30, the team in the corner knows that they just won worlds. Still, they get up and clap for the second place team to their left and wait with their own celebrations until they’re called. That’s true sportsmanship!
Food, Friends & Family
You don’t want to come alone? Don’t worry, there’s enough space for everyone! Bring some friends or family, get some food and simply enjoy. You don’t need to be a die-hard cheerleading fan to find it interesting. Cheerleading is in its nature a visually appealing sport, and it originated from the sidelines, where hyping up the crowd was a cheerleader’s core duty. While this is not our main purpose anymore, our routines are still built to wow the audience, no matter their knowledge of the sport. And if you do come to the conclusion that this is actually quite an interesting sport, you could always find a team near you and get more information on them!
Will you be there?
Now that you know everything there is to know about Swiss Championships, there’s no excuse not to show up! Get your tickets here, and be there on the 26th.