During football, basketball and volleyball seasons, there are individuals on the sidelines, cheering. They not only chant, tumble, and get the crowd involved, but do all of the above mentioned whilst raising school spirit. In garnet and gold, these men and women are always on their feet and ready to support the Seminoles.
"My favorite part of cheerleading, by far, is the football games," FSU cheerleader and senior Rob Cartwright said. "The opportunity to fly with the team across the nation to help support them is something not many people have."
Dana Brown is a Sports Management major and FSU junior. The 20 year old got involved in cheerleading when he was younger, finding tumbling to be his point of interest. After cheering for seven years, the Key West native decided to try out at the college level.
"The tryout process is a three day process that is done in rounds of elimination," Brown said. "You continue to come back to the tryout until you are cut."
He also added, "There are certain skills that are required and each cut is based on a certain section of skills."
Many of those who aspire to make the team have had previous experience. While various members have cheered for their high schools, most agree that cheering for FSU is unique.
"One of the things that makes it so different from high school cheering is the fact that I am cheering for one of the greatest universities in the nation," FSU freshman Joshua Weeks said.
After auditions are complete, 46 cheerleaders are accepted into the program. With 24 on the all girls team, there are 23 members on the co-ed team. Brown is one of the 12 males.
The FSU cheerleaders, enthusiastically promoting Florida State, dedicate numerous hours of hard work and practice to perfect their performances. Before games, they arrive three to four hours prior to kick-off. Teammates are required to attend practices for two hours, twice a week. In addition, working out twice a week with a partner is also mandatory.
"People usually talk about how cheerleading isn't a sport, until they meet someone that is part of our program, and they see what it takes to be a cheerleader," Brown said. "In my eyes, anything that requires you to be in athletic shape to perform correctly is a sport."
In addition to workouts, team practices and games, doing well in school is a must. All FSU cheerleaders are required to maintain over a 2.0 grade point average.
Aside from cheering for FSU, Brown dedicates his time and skills to other sources.
"I coach two all star teams at Gym Force Cheerleading. I coach a youth level team, which is girls and boys from sixth grade and under, and I also coach a junior team of kids, ninth grade and under," Brown said. "Last year I was the coach for Tallahassee Community College competition team, leading the team to two national titles."
Whether it is an event or activity, every team member has favorite thing about cheering for FSU.
"My favorite part about FSU Cheerleading is game days," FSU sophomore Shawnti Amill said. "The fans at FSU are absolutely amazing and even when we're not in the lead they still make it so fun to cheer on our 'Noles."
At the end of each game, win or lose, the squad enjoys doing what they are known for.
"Each and every one of us has a great amount of school pride," Brown said. "Knowing that we are motivation to our sports teams and fans is a great feeling."
© Copyright 2008 FSView & Florida Flambeau
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