Friends Academy, known for its outstanding school spirit, surprisingly will not have a cheerleading squad this year. While the girls cheerleading squad usually cheers on the boys and girls basketball games, there has been no interest this winter season. Alan Quackenbush, the Athletic Director, explained, “Unfortunately there was little interest this year in having a cheerleading squad, despite the initiative that our new coach took in speaking with the students about becoming involved.”
The situation is puzzling because there were juniors, sophomores, and even freshman on the team last year that were supposed to carry the team into the following year. Grace Covelli, a tenth grader who choose not to continue cheerleading this year, stated, “The team [last year] was disorganized. I came to all of the meetings and we didn’t really do anything.” Members felt that the team was unproductive and lacked the necessary passion to make cheerleading exciting.
In reality, cheerleading has not such a popular sport at Friends Academy for a while now. The storybook cliché of the “popular” cheerleader dating the “popular” football quarterback is an outdated notion. So, without a group of enthusiastic seniors advertising the benefits of cheerleading, the squad not only lost its previous members but also could not attract prospective members.
Members of the girls varsity basketball team did not really care about the lack of a cheerleading team this season. Rosie Mangiarotti, who has been on the varsity squad since eighth grade, commented, “The girls cheerleaders rarely came to the girl’s games anyway, so it doesn’t even affect us.”
However, members of the boys basketball teams had a different perspective. Jack Forlines and Jonny Nierenberg, varsity basketball players, stated, “We are disappointed there are no cheerleaders. You’re going to be able to hear a needle drop in the gym. We need to compensate for the absence of cheerleaders with more fans.”
To reassure the basketball team members that they have not been forgotten, Mr. Quackenbush stated, “The good news is that we will be offering a [cheerleading] program for our middle school girls during the winter one season, in an effort to generate interest and the hope that we will be able to resurrect this program next year.” With the Danes arriving at Friends Academy this week, the students are sure to take more of an interest in basketball. Not only the talent but also the height of the Danes basketball squad always amazes the Friends Academy community. Hopefully with the arrival of the foreign team, spirit and support will be in full swing, even if pom-poms aren’t shaking.