Bolling Sewell

“Cheer” is one of the most popular shows on Netflix right now. I sat down last week to start watching, and I could not stop. The reality series follows a junior college cheer squad on their journey to Daytona, the biggest cheer competition of the year.

It is not your typical sports documentary because it has more to prove than something about football or baseball or basketball.

Cheerleading is not often seen as an intense or respectable sport by those who do not understand the commitment and technique that competition cheerleading demands.

The documentary had to be perfect in order to gain the respect of the public, and it did just that. Emotional, intense, personal and masterfully executed are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think about “Cheer.”

The documentary is not only intense and emotional, but it is incredibly detailed without being monotonous. From the music to the creative filming techniques to the personal questions asked by the producers, “Cheer” delves into the lives of these athletes and transports you into their world. By the last episode, you feel like a member of the Navarro cheer family. You feel as if you have learned every dance, stunt, tumbling pass and jump.

The creator of the series, Greg Whiteley, showed the world how cheerleading, like any other team sport, can push people to their limit while bonding a team together in ways never expected.As I watched “Cheer,” I felt motivated, sad, mad, nervous, inspired and happy over the course of all six episodes.

Navarro is a junior college located in Corsicana, Texas. The two-year college cheerleading program attracts athletes from all over the country to travel to this tiny Texas town — just to compete with the best.

Coach Monica Aldama is the reason this program became one of the best in the country, and her quiet confidence, tough love policies, bad-ass smarts and unparalleled dedication to the sport made it possible. If Monica wrote a novel about how to become the best at what you do, it would without a doubt become a bestseller. She is like a mother to the kids she coaches without sacrificing an ounce of professionalism.

Not only is the Navarro head coach an inspiration, but the athletes on the team all have incredible stories too. The vulnerability that every interviewee spoke with about their past situations and how they found cheerleading brought tears to my eyes. Jerry, Lexi, LaDarius and Morgan, just to name a few, all come from different places, but the sport of cheerleading managed to save them all.

As a high school cheerleader, I immediately wanted to watch this show. However, even if you know nothing about cheerleading or don’t think it would interest you, “Cheer” is still worth the watch. Sports documentaries and movies have always been popular, but as it was said in the documentary, competition cheerleading is not “Bring It On.”

Competition cheerleading is dangerous and it is technical and it takes every skill that one would need for gymnastics, dance and circus and combines them all into one. “Cheer” is a refreshing take on the modern day athlete, and anyone needing inspiration or wanting to feel like a part of something would benefit from watching this show.

“Cheer” is something that I think everyone can relate to in some way. In an age of such division, shows like this really remind me of what it means to be a team player and a hard working member of society. So, I encourage you to sit down, binge watch and be inspired by the Navarro Bulldogs.

Bolling Sewell is a sophomore studying journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at bsewell6@vols.utk.edu.

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