Stunting in Silence

The cheer team attempts to energize an empty and unresponsive crowd

The+cheer+team+performing+their+halftime+performance+at+the+Ogden+basketball+game.+

Maya Lentz

The cheer team performing their halftime performance at the Ogden basketball game.

 “We’ll Fight! For! You!” The cheer team freezes with their arms stretched high in the air as the parent’s blank stares and silence screams louder than any of the calls of that night. 

Amidst Governor Herbert’s COVID-19 protocols, the cheer team has experienced a hit that they could not have seen coming, now having a spotted sea of motionless stares coming from the bleachers at basketball games.

With basketball, we have to be tested every two weeks, wear masks, we cannot travel, and the team cheers toward the parents.”

— Cheer Coach Tracy O'Nash

“It’s very surreal,” junior Mark Stevens explains as he describes how it feels to cheer to such a small group of people, “we just don’t get that super amazing response from the crowd,” Stevens said. Despite not having that “super amazing response” that does not mean that the cheer team holds back. Stevens explains that his team still goes full out. From sideline performances to half time shows, the squad practices and performs like no other. Plus, “I figure it is still a good workout,” Stevens finishes.

Junior Lexi Blackett, echoes the same response saying, “Although there are parents there, they usually don’t join in on the cheers with us so it is much quieter than it used to be,” Blackett explained. After going to visit one of these basketball games, the stories that Stevens and Blackett shared ring true. 

Standing tall, the cheer team takes the center of the basketball court ready to put on a show for the spotted crowd. (Maya Lentz)

In an attempt to understand what the environment was like, I put on my mask and headed to the JD versus Ogden game. This was the first game that was allowing a student section with ticket admission, something felt off. In comparison to the football games that preceded this season, it felt like there was a disconnect between the ten-person student section and the cheer team. There was no longer the back and forth between our student section and the cheer team where the seniors would attempt to follow the cheerleaders routine with a fit of laughter surrounding them.

On the other hand, any attempts to get the parent crowd going was met with resistance as they simply watched and moved on. “As a cheer coach,” cheer coach Tracy O’Nash said, “I feel bad especially for our seniors that this is their last year cheering, but the team has kept a good mindset,” O’Nash finished. And that strong mindset shined through.

With squinted eyes showing evidence of those masked hidden smiles, it showed the true dedication and love the team still possessed. Whether those smiles are for the small crowd of parents who deserve a cheer team who are there to watch support their varsity boys play in the final games of their basketball career, or purely just because they are having fun, this team still filled the room end line to end line with their energy.

Mark Stevens and his fellow cheerleaders as they take the floor at the boy’s basketball varsity game. (Maya Lentz)

Now, with the diligence of our administration, the guest rule of two per player has expanded with the help of online ticket sales. If you are interested in coming to support this dedicated team and give them the call and response they deserve, be sure to reserve your ticket for the next home game, mask up, and bring the energy this team is ready to give back to you.