Roaring crowds dwindle to silence. Chanting cheers come to a close. Through the ups and downs, the girls on the cheer team remained full of school spirit. With the student section rallying behind them, they cheered loud and proud, encouraging the football team to play better. This year’s season consisted of team building and working hard to recover the time lost last year.
Through the cold winds and disappointing losses of Eastern’s football team, these Varsity athletes cheered through it all. No matter the size of the audience, they kept on smiling. According to senior Tara Kloostra (’22), a major factor in keeping up spirit was the support from the stands. “Our student section was so great this year, so it was easy to keep energy.” The stands this year were packed to the brim with students. Almost every game had an impressive student section, making it easier to cheer Eastern to victory.
With the turbulent times of last year, many on the team found it difficult to get back to normal: “Because of the shutdown, it was hard to get back into the rhythm of things, so we had to work a lot harder,” says Kloostra. She is one of the leaders of the cheer team and inspires many of the underclassmen to keep working hard. Covid made connecting as a team and running actual drills hard. Coupled with the minuscule amount of supporters, turnout for the cheer team was scarce.
Regardless, the team found new and exciting ways to connect with each other. Kloostra states that “in past years, we did a cheer camp through the school, this year we did our own thing at Camp Henry. It was a good time to bond, and we learned new cheers and forms.” Building team bonds and strengthening friendships is a key part of any team, especially one that relies so heavily on trust and commitment.
“I thought [this year] was super fun and senior year made me make connections with underclassmen. We were able to do more, and it was a much better experience,” Kloostra says. She is among the seniors who find their last year participating in high school sports bittersweet. Even though covid took away one of their years, the sideline cheer team continues to find the best in the little things and appreciate each moment for what it’s worth.