Hardaway High Cheerleaders Prepare for the Big Game

When it comes to school spirit, nobody has more than cheerleaders.  It's their job to make sure the entire school gets behind its team.  But being a cheerleader isn't as easy at it may look.

Meet the spirit ambassadors of Hardaway High School.--the award-winning cheer team. They all say they love what they do.

"Pep rallies are a lot of fun and pumping up the school for the games," said senior Wanda Ferguson.

"I like seeing the fans smile, and getting them ready for the game," added junior Tyazhia Averett.  "And the football players, they look at the fans and they see how excited they are, so it gets them pumped for the game."

"That's what we're mainly there to do, is make sure everybody gets involved and that we keep everyone's hopes up for the game," senior Ryan Santoro said.

But cheering isn't always easy. This team works just as hard as any other athlete in the school, practicing difficult routines for pep rallies, games, and even cheering competitions.

"Football team practices outside, baseball team, and we might be inside but we practice just as long, everyday," senior Emily Sullivan pointed out.

"Having to do so many years of tumbling, and experience is a big part of it," Ferguson added.

And like football, cheering can be a full-contact sport--but without the pads and helmets.

"I've gotten hurt before, I've never broken any bones, but I've gotten some pretty bad bruises, gotten hit in the face, it's pretty hard, because I'm a base and you have to make sure you catch the flier, you don't want anyone to hit the ground," Santoro explained.

As a former cheerleader myself--Andalusia Middle School, eighth grade--I decided to put on my gym shorts and see if I still had what it takes. The cheerleaders decided it would be fun to put this rusty reporter in an extension, better known as a pyramid. Even I was surprised that we hit it on the first try, but I decided one try would be quite enough anyway. But I think I'll stick to my day job and leave this stuff to the ladies who make sure your game day experience is an unforgettable one.