Virtual cheerleading: competing in 2020-21

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

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Rebecca Matthews, The Delphi Editor

With all the COVID -19 chaos, cheerleading could completely change for the upcoming season.

On November 23, ESPN Wide World of Sports announced that both Summit and Worlds will not be the same. “At this time, USASF Cheerleading Worlds will not proceed as planned for this year,” the announcement read.

Wondering why this is such a big deal? The Cheerleading Worlds is an invite-only competition that happens in the last week of April. To get an “invite” to Worlds, teams must score well enough and place high enough to get an invite. Some competitions give out invites that fully pay for competition fees, while other bids require teams to pay the $25,000 fees. If teams place in the top 3, they receive the bronze, silver, or gold globe. If they win, they receive “World Champion” rings. This competition is for senior level 6 and 7 teams only.

The Summit and D2 Summit occur in the beginning of May. The rules are the same as Worlds; teams need an invite to compete. If they win, they receive banners and rings. This competition allows youth, junior, and senior levels 1-5.

Along with these major competitions, others across the country have recently decided to go virtual or even postpone. On November 30, the GMCE (Greatest Midwest Cheer Expo) event scheduled for December 19-20 had decided to postpone. On December 1, WSF (World Spirit Federation) declared its in-person event to be cancelled, and pushed it back to December 5 and 6. On December 7. BATC (Battle at the Capital) recently declared it would now be virtual with a new date.

With most competitions going virtual, watching these teams compete isn’t the same as it used to be.  For starters, teams must send in videos of their routines in the gym. Teams are able to perform multiple times and take multiple videos until they get the perfect routine. Certain teams and competitions require masks to be worn at all times unless the athletes are tumbling, since that could be a major safety issue. Finally, more videos are getting posted online, rather than having to pay for Varsity TV, which is a streaming service that requires viewers to pay to watch sports.

Even though most competitions decided to go virtual, there are a few that are still occurring in person. Check out @cheerupdates for what competitions will be occurring in December and beyond.