Stuyvesant’s cheerleaders can often be spotted at Battery Park in early summer or at Pier 40 cheering on the Peglegs, the varsity football team in the fall. This year, for the first time in school history, they may also be found in the third floor gym cheering on the Runnin’ Rebels, the boys’ varsity basketball team.
After gaining permission from Rebels coach Phil Fisher, the cheerleaders began their routines as usual, only this time, indoors. “It would be a great thing for the kids to do,” Fisher said.
The reasoning behind the decision was largely to “show more spirit,” senior and cheerleading co-captain Sylvia Ko said.
“We didn’t want to just care for the football team,” senior and cheerleading co-captain Rachel Sullivan said. “This enables us to keep on going throughout the year.”
Since the squad conditions and practices three times a week, now through the fall and winter, it has become one of the most demanding and longest seasons. This new atmosphere has also created a new experience.
“Being in the bleachers is new because there are more fans around us,” Ko said. When cheering for football, the squad sits on the sidelines and is separated. They are also able to perform during the game in basketball, while in football they can perform only at halftime.
Although they only attend games at Stuyvesant, the cheerleaders have validated the concept of “home field advantage.” They attract fans and rally the players. “I love the fans,” said senior and Rebels captain Jake LaMountain. “It pumps us up at home games.”
Another attempt to increase school cheer was Spirit Week, coordinated in large part by the cheerleading captains: Ko, Sullivan and senior Sara Yoon. It was designed to strengthen the relationship between the players and the cheerleaders. “We bought them flowers. They baked us delicious cakes and cookies,” LaMountain said.
In these ways, the cheerleaders are increasing school spirit and taking it to new heights.