20 Life Lessons You Learn From Being A Cheerleader

Parker Knight
Parker Knight

1. You know how to mix tradition and new style…because today’s cheerleader is a legit athlete who also happens to carry on many of the school’s oldest traditions. It’s all about doing some dance “passed down since 1971,” and then doing flips across the room, and then breaking out into “Work B*tch,” all in one performance.

2. You’ve got mad skills on the dance floor…except that years of robotically sharp 8-counts has altered your style for the rest of your life. Every now and then you’ll be out at a club and find yourself whipping out some completely weird, sharp elbow thing that you thought was buried in the depths of your muscle memory. Apparently not.

Klearchos Kapoutsis
Klearchos Kapoutsis

3. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”…and when it came to maintaining your uniform, that “way” might’ve been doing neurotic things like straightening your ribbons with a flat iron, or religiously soaking your tennis shoes in bleach, or using White Out to cover the marks. Rappers are onto something with their pristine white shoes. #Respect.

4. You know how to throw a REAL party…you know, all girls, Secret Santa, a couple of XL cheese pizzas…by the end of the night, everyone is crying (either from some heart-to-heart or because they were laughing so hard, or both).

5. You also know how to show people you love them…because that’s all you did for years on end. Not just by cheering, but by making hundreds of little signs and cards and “Secret Santas” that you painstakingly created with Sharpies and glitter and love. You know how grandmothers feel on Thanksgiving, toiling all day over one little thing just to show in their small way that they care. (Come to think of it, your sneakers also resembled your grandmothers…so guess that’s more than one thing you share).

6. There’s a big difference between “sexy” and “cute”…because sometimes, you felt like a Teen Queen, while other times, you wore things like elastic-waist “cheer pants” that went up to your ribcage with pigtail French braids.  While it made a cute photo for Nanna’s fridge, that shit was NOT sexy and everyone knew it. When it got cold out, you even went so far as to wear said cheer pants under your skirt…like that was a normal look…mini skirt with pants…

Monica's Dad
Monica’s Dad

7. You know how to get what you want out of life…be it winning a competition or getting your dream job, Cheerleaders are the type that will fight for it and get it.

8. You know how to endure anything….because Cheer Camp. Enough said.

9. Rivalries can push you to be better…and the fiercest kind were the ones within your own school. Like, what was with Drill Team always trying to cop your moves??? Weren’t you technically on the same side and shit?!?


10. The show must go on…Yeah, you F’d up that move big time. And high-kicked your teammate in the face. And three thousand people saw it. Whatever. Two counts later, you were back in action.

11. Liquid gel liner is no one’s friend…which you learned the moment you went to the bathroom during a particularly sweaty halftime, only to see that two football-player-thick black lines had made their way onto your cheeks. Never mind that polyester sweaters and “shells” are the most overheating, suffocating clothing items known to woman.


12. Haters gonna hate…and being in the public eye means you are 60X more likely to have some scandal revolve around you. From secrets you never wanted anyone to know, to stories that were straight-up fabricated, it happened, and the only way to fight that drama was to tells the haters to save it for their mammas. Over time, performing gives you a tough skin and resilient attitude — people will always judge, but you can’t let that keep you from trying your best and kicking ass.

13. You can sell ANYTHING…whether you find work as a waitress or high-powered businesswoman, the SMILES and ENTHUSIASM will be second nature to you. What, cheeks hurting from smiling? Lol, that’s norm. People staring at you blankly while you shout in their faces? No prob, they’ll come around! More than half of being successful is confidence, and you’ve learned that the hard way–by bouncing around like a freak in front of thousands of people…to Ke$ha.

14. You would also be great at marketing…because a high school is actually very similar to a brand: it has logos, colors, jingles, oh, and spokesperson — you.

15. “Fake it til you make it”…is the secret to life. For instance, you didn’t know you were an All Star, but then you wore SOFFE shorts that had that written on the butt and soon enough you WERE. (And, yeah…can we talk about that trend for a minute? That happened. Actively drawing attention to our asses, as teenagers, was a widely adopted and school-sanctioned practice…)


16. People can be more than one thing…and the stereotype of the cheerleader is really pretty inaccurate. While you might’ve all looked the same with your arms in perfectly identical V’s, your teammates were math nerds and art geeks, laid back slackers and obsessive overachievers. Despite having become a legitimate, competitive sport in the past decades, most people still have that 1950’s image of the blonde, busty, bimbo. Even years after graduating, you will mention that you were one and be met with everything from unfounded judgment to downright creepy fetishes. (Okay fine so this list is playing on stereotypes itself…but it’s for US!!! We know it’s a joke!!!)

17. The stereotypes of gay men are also unfair…which you know because you either were one, or you were besties with the dudes on your team way before it was trendy to have a “gay best friend.” That’s just the bond that comes from spending hours on end together dancing to Gaga. And they could pick you up with one hand.

18. Nothing gets done without teamwork…this is not a Cheertatorship, guys.

19. CHICKS BEFORE DICKS…(metaphorically speaking, because we just went over the gay thing). But rly, nothing says friendship like riding carpool, throwing each other in the air, and synchronizing your every movement. I mean, these bitches ~literally~ saved your ass every time you did a stunt. Now that is trust.

20. You’re always ready for anything…Wait, I couldn’t hear you…could you say that louder? Are you really ready?!??? OKAY!!!!!!!! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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