Rah! Rah! “Cheer” Will Leave You in Awe

Netflix’s “Cheer” sheds light on the undeniable talent and raw reality of collegiate cheer


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The Navarro Cheer team showing off their pride before competing in the challenge of their lifetime.

Aria Bragalone, Staff Writer

This docuseries touches on the behind the scenes of a collegiate cheer team. While many may stereotype cheerleaders as just “dancers on the sideline”, the Navarro Cheer Team is anything but that. Set in the little town of Corsicana, Texas, Navarro College is a junior college that has made a name for itself within its cheer department. Having won 13 national titles, this Netflix Original Series follows the team as they work their bodies endlessly to win their 14th title at the NCA-NDA College Nationals in Daytona, Florida.

This series starts off by introducing the team and head coach, Monica Aldama, during one of their first practices of the season. Viewers are immediately met with the raw reality of being a college cheerleader. Flyers are dropped, stunt performers are injured, and Monica pushes these athletes until they respect and represent her and her program with everything in their being. It is obvious that these athletes see Monica as a motherly figure. Throughout the whole series, heart-wrenching stories from multiple athletes are shared, exposing their home-life and hardships growing up. Each one of these stories ended by emphasizing how Monica ‘saved them’. One of the cheerleaders, Lexi Brumback, even states, “If it weren’t for Monica, I would probably be in a jail cell right now.”

The rest of the episodes are full of practices, performances around town, and competing to ‘be on the mat’. When the team goes to Daytona for Nationals, only 20 out of the 40 members can compete ‘on mat’ while the other half of the team cheers from the sidelines. The fight to be on mat is the main motive for the cheerleaders aside from winning in Daytona. Drama, sacrifices, and tears are all prevalent throughout the whole season in hopes of being able to compete at Nationals.

When I say it isn’t easy to pick favorites among the team, I mean it. As if the backstories and breakthroughs weren’t enough, this series zones in on the most essential cheerleaders on the team, perfectly portraying their different personalities and what they bring to the table. Thus, it is hard to decipher a favorite, creating a love for the whole entire team. Without the honest stories and close-up shots of the athletes being themselves, I don’t think this series would have been as successful. The relatability of each and every episode draws viewers in and leaves them yearning for more.

This series does an amazing job of going back and forth between personal scenes and interviews and shots of the team as a whole. With this, you can see how the athletes are as individual people and as teammates. Unlike most docuseries, Cheer doesn’t get caught up in all of the reality show-type drama that you are used to seeing on TLC where everything is staged and depends on fights among moms or kids to get views. It does, however, show the reality of being a teammate and the frustrations that come along with it. It highlights the importance of giving everything your all in order to make the team successful. So many cheerleaders didn’t get to compete on mat because they constantly blamed others for their mistakes or didn’t work as hard as their stunt partners. Therefore, I think this series can teach viewers a lot of important lessons, athlete or not.

One of the most impressive things was the editing team’s ability to show Navarro’s performance at Daytona. The camera crew was denied access into the competition due to its coverage by Varsity Sports, a sports streaming app. Therefore, they compiled all of the footage that they could from the team’s phones and cameras and were able to make the last episode one to remember. Getting emotional in the last episode was inevitable. The hard work from the whole team and coaches had paid off, and the sometimes-shaky camera footage added an extra flair to the reality of it all.

Overall, this series is highly addicting and will keep you wanting more– so much that I couldn’t help but look up what the cheerleaders are up to now and follow their social media. While many people assumed this series was going to be another “Toddlers and Tiaras” moment, it really did surprise me and I think it will surprise you, too. I would highly recommend watching this six-episode series if you are looking for a new binge-worthy show. It is sure to make you giggle and cry!