By Steve Pawlyk
Updated August 15, 2018
Can I start cheering in college?
Yes you can! I am living proof!!
I played all types of sports growing up such as hockey, baseball and football. When I stepped on to a college campus for the first time that all changed. Despite being recruited to play hockey at numerous colleges, i chose to attend a university that didn’t recruit me. I pressed my luck and tried out as a walk-on. Even though I made the practice team I was dissatisfied and chose not to continue. Turns out that this was the best decision of my life. Why you ask? Because I was introduced to (college) cheerleading! And I haven’t looked back.
Let me tell you how it all started. One day I was walking out of the cafeteria and noticed some people engaging in what I could only describe at the time as a circus act. These guys and girls were throwing each other around like rag dolls. I thought this was interesting and continued watching. As I was about to walk away one of the female athletes approached me and asked if I wanted to give it a try. I declined at first, but she followed with the line that changed my life forever. What did she say that completely altered my life and has led me to writing this right now? She said, “if you try, you’ll get to touch my butt”. With a twinkle in my eye and excitement surging through my body I said, “yes, yes I would like to touch your butt. Please show me how”.
College cheerleading is one of the few sports that you can really learn and perfect in a couple short years.
Although I was extremely athletic and strong, nothing could have prepared me for the journey on which I was about to embark. Cheerleading, especially college cheer, if very nuanced, but can be learned with no prior experience. When you’re surrounded by other high-level athletes, learning almost becomes contagious. In one year I went from knowing absolutely nothing to being a pretty good coed stunter. Although there was much to still learn, I was well on my way.
College cheerleading is one of the few sports that you can really learn and perfect in a couple short years. When you ask around as to how many athletes, guys in particular, started cheering in college the numbers are staggering. Although guys are becoming involved with cheer at younger and younger ages with the rise and popularity of allstar cheer, you will find that at least 50% of guys don’t start until they are in college.
This is less true for female athletes, but there are still a number that I have encountered that hadn’t cheered until the college level. Most were prior gymnasts wanting to continue using their skills despite their school not offering a gymnastics program. Therefore, they end up on the cheer team.
When it comes to college cheer, it’s never too late.
It seems that in most cases there is no prior skill needed. There are some amazing teams that require some prior involvement, but a super majority of college teams are happy to take any guy or girl off the street who are willing to work and put the time into perfect their skills.
So don’t fret.
If you want to give college cheer a try, then do it! You’ll never know what could happen unless you try. I couldn’t imagine that one stunt in front of the cafeteria my freshman year would have turned into a career in cheerleading. If you want it, go do it!