Cheer and Song merge September 16, 2008 — by Mira Chaykin Permalink For years, Cheer and Song operated as two separate units, leading to a lack of teamwork and a consequential lack of spirit. Now that the squads are combined as the Spirit Squad, the girls and their coaches rave about the immediate increase in unity, and their hopes for the future.For years, Cheer and Song operated as two separate units, leading to a lack of teamwork and a consequential lack of spirit. Now that the squads are combined as the Spirit Squad, the girls and their coaches rave about the immediate increase in unity, and their hopes for the future. According to team adviser Laressa Ridge, a main reason the teams were merged is that as they practiced separately, they developed different ideas of what they should be doing in the sidelines. Both team captains senior Harriet Russell and junior Ally Doles echoed this sentiment, although they focused more on the emotional separation of the team rather than aesthetic disunity. “The only time [the cheerleaders] actually really saw the Song team was at the football games when we would cheer together, but even then we didn’t communicate very much,” said Doles. “We never practiced together, and we never did any team bonding together. We barely ever even saw them.” Russell said “the squad was cliquey.” She said that people separated into groups and would not talk to one another. “My ultimate goal as a captain is to get everyone to work together and be united.” said Russell A second reason for the merging the squads, said Ridge, was that “girls were interested in both cheer and dance and had to decide which team they wanted to join. Instead of making them choose, we’re now giving them the opportunity to enjoy both activities in one.” The merge is currently drawing a mostly positive reaction from the captains and the coaches, as well as from the new members of the team. “The benefits of this new union are a stronger, more unified team as well as a chance for the girls to learn new skills and showcase their unique talents together as one exciting squad,” said coach Tiffany Borgia. Doles spoke of the team’s newfound unity as well, by saying that the team is doing much more bonding and “bonding makes us more spirited, which makes us a better team.” Clearly this bonding is having an effect on the experiences of the squad’s new members, as squad members junior Simin Ghahghahi and sophomore Katie Gifford both spoke of their excitement in joining the team. Ghahghahi spoke highly of team bonding, saying it was a great way to meet new people, and allow the team to more readily trust one another. “Trust is really key in cheer because trust brings the team together as a whole,” said Ghahghahi. Gifford said that it’s “a really great experience and so much fun because everyone works together.” Expectations due to the merge are high for the coming year. “There will be a completely different atmosphere at games and rallies. The teams will no longer be working against each other,” said Ridge. “Rather, they will be working as a cohesive unit to pump up the crowd, show off their unique talents and funnel all of their energy into promoting school spirit.” Doles explained the expectations for excellence this year are high because the squad is bonding more than last year, but cheer is still not without its challenges. “There are so many new people from different grades that need to learn techniques like stunting and jumping,” said Doles. “We need to catch up the new members to speed.” However, this task should be made easier this year as “both the varsity and JV Cheer teams are brimming with talented and energetic young ladies,” said Borgia. Cheer has an entire year to live up to its grand expectations and continue bonding as a team. After all, there is no “I” in cheer.