Cheerleaders in Covid


Natalie Kennedy

Julia Dipaolo flying.

For sports fans and athletes, this fall sport season has been a nightmare. With trying to keep up with changing regulations and new deadlines, tensions have increased.

Julia Dipaolo is a freshman cheerleader at Padua Academy.

“I’ve been a [cheerleader] for 7 years, I was so excited to cheer for Padua.” said Dipaolo.

Unfortunately, COVID became an issue. This has caused massive change and has pushed back major events for athletes and sports fans. Not only has it pushed major league sports, but also local sports.

Padua Academy cheerleaders cheer for Salesianum school during the football season. Salesianum had to push back their football season, so it only consists of four games. Three of the four are away games which under guidelines, cheerleaders cannot travel to.

“It’s devastating that I can only cheer for one game. As a freshman, this means I will have barely any experience if [next football season] is back to normal.” Dipaolo confessed.

For the cheerleaders, their one game will have a lot of changes compared to previous games. For example, they cannot be within six feet of the other cheerleaders, they cannot interact with the crowd, and they must wear a mask at all times.

Also, there is still a possibility for there not to be a halftime routine. If the football team goes into the playoffs, there won’t be any cheerleaders for those games.

With the 26 cheerleaders, it will be hard to spread out on the sidelines.

“Although it will be difficult, we are all pushing through the challenges. We are still privileged to be able to be here and cheer at all,” said Dipaolo

Not only has it been difficult to adapt to the game, it’s been a whole new world for practices. The cheer team started without any tryouts. The practices started very late and the first 2 months were zoom practices. Practices now are spaced out on a field 4 days a week and 2 days virtual. While at these practices, cheerleaders have to wear masks in person and stay 6 feet apart.

Although the football cheer season is difficult, the competition season will continue to go on.

The competition season will have the same choreography and costumes as normal, just with the addition of masks. A big loss is that there will not be nationals this year.

“This is really sad as a freshman. Nationals is a big event for a cheerleader and I won’t get to experience it normal for my first time.”

Although this is difficult, Dipaolo knows that it would be harder if she were a senior.

“After all this, I can’t be down on myself as a freshman because I feel worse for the seniors. It’s hard watching them practice. They are grateful for the ability to cheer this season, but it’s almost impossible not to feel sorry for themselves that their senior cheer season looks like this.”

As for next cheer season, it will be completely different.

“If everything goes back to normal, It will be like I’m a freshman again. I will be starting from scratch with a whole new set of rules.”