Netflix’s “Cheer:” the realities of life as a cheerleader



The DV Cheerleading Squad at the 2020 Nationals competition in Florida

Rebecca Matthews, The Delphi Writer

On January 8, 2020, Netflix released a new documentary-style reality show, Cheer, about a small college cheer team who trains all season to compete in Daytona.

Navarro is a community college located in Coriscana, Texas. The college has about 8,968 students enrolled, and only about 40 of them make the Navarro cheer team. The squad is coed, with more male athletes than females. The head coach is Monica Aldama, who has a business degree from the University of Texas. Navarro has won 14 National titles in the Junior Coed Division, 5 of them being Grand Champions.

Beyond documenting the team, what the show really emphasizes how cheer actually works. It disproves the stereotypes one might think of cheerleading. Dumb blondes and bratty athletes are no where to be found. Cheer depicts the risks and injuries that cheerleaders face each day, the intensity of daily practices, and the stresses faced at each competition.“People have broken their necks doing this, but Monica needs me to do it so I’ll just do it. I would take a bullet for her,” Morgan, one of her athletes, said.

What makes this show unique from other documentaries like it is the different backgrounds that each of the athletes has. Lexi Brumback uses cheer to escape from her life as a troubled teen. Jerry Harris lost his mother in 2016 to cancer, and it affected his life ever since. People such as Morgan Simianer and La’Darius Marshall have to cope with their parents abandoning them, forcing them to live with other families. Lastly, Gabby Butler has been famous ever since she was little, and audiences witness how stressful being a “cheer celebrity” can be.

The relationship between Monica and her team is another selling point for the show. Ever since Monica first lays eyes on her athletes, she tries her best to shape them into the best people she can be. She exclaims “I don’t want them to ever feel like they’re not safe with me, because they’ll always be safe with me.” From a coaching standpoint, she isn’t the most harsh of coaches, but she also isn’t the sweetest of ladies. Monica keeps her kids out of trouble the best she can. For example, she helped Lexi recover from her troubled childhood. Without Monica’s support, the team (along with the show) wouldn’t be as popular.

The show has become extremely popular since it first appeared on Netflix, and the cheerleaders have received over 100,000 followers on Instagram (most being verified). The show’s rating is about an 8.2/10. Navarro also recently went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to perform a routine on national television.

Cheer is mainly geared towards people who cheer themselves, people who enjoy watching cheerleading, and people who need to be convinced that cheer is a sport. This show is not geared towards people who are interested in starting cheer, since the show highlights the dangers. This is the main reason why people dislike the series.

If you are interested in learning more about cheerleading, this series is sure to help you out!