A couple months back in December, I wrote an article outlining the changes made to cheerleading for the 2020-2021 winter sports season at Seoul Foreign School. At that time, COVID-19 cases had been decreasing, which made us hopeful that the season would continue even with the changes, such as Zoom KAIAC competitions and social distancing, but sadly that was not the case. Just as the New Year began, the cheer season came to an immediate halt due to local pandemic regulations imposed by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. Now, it is mid-February, and it has been officially decided to end the winter sports season. It is quite saddening news because, during the months of virtual learning given by our coach, we had daily workouts that were supposed to keep us active until we could once again practice together as a team.
|[Google Classroom page for cheerleading. Photo courtesy of Clare Sohn.]|
For our last meetup as a team, the cheer team got together to take our team pictures, as well as enjoy just being together as a team. To add to the fun, the coach asked us all to wear the hoodies we had custom made for this season. Along with that, due to the seniors missing their senior appreciation night, the underclasswomen all prepared “senior night” posters for each of our seniors to show our gratitude to them for the past seasons. It was bittersweet to realize that seven of our team’s members were seniors. For days, we all worked in partnerships or individually to create poster boards with the seniors' names and pictures to give to them as surprise gifts when we gathered at school. One by one, we each handed our posters to our assigned senior cheerleader, and the reactions on their faces were priceless. As they had been completely unaware of our plan, it was truly great to see their appreciation.
To be a bit more personal, it made me really sad to watch this group of seniors leave the team. As a sophomore, it was a pleasure to even be able to know and be on the same team as them in varsity cheer, but it was even sadder as I reminisced about my freshman year season. As I was the youngest on the team with all juniors, seniors, and some sophomores, this year’s seniors were the ones who really taught me everything about cheer, from sideline cheers, and stunting, to giving me advice out of cheer. As I thought about how much fun I’d had last year without even noticing, I realized that I am really scared about going into next season without them.
|[Picture with the senior that my friend and I made a senior poster for.
Photo courtesy of one of the other cheerleaders.]
Going back to the story, after giving out the posters and reminiscing together, we took our team photos. Even though the season had been cut short after only one week of practice, we felt natural together as a team. Following this, our coach handed out awards for our extremely short season. All of the new varsity members received a cheer pin as well as a letter “C” patch, which meant that they could purchase varsity jacket at our school, as the “C” is the patch that is stitched on the front of the jacket. Next, the returners, including myself, received a golden bar pin that represents our years on the varsity team. Lastly, the captains of our team received a special pin for their leadership of the team through this tough virtual season.
To wrap up, I think that this 2020-2021 cheerleading season was definitely different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the season was too short, we didn’t get to do much, but I will surely treasure the new friendships and bonds that were created within this year's team through the small events such as making senior posters as well as taking pictures together. Regardless, I think that it still was a unique experience and am hopeful for the 2021-2022 cheer season.
Seoul Foreign School
Clare Sohn firstname.lastname@example.org
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