When I used to think about what life would be like as a Villanova Cheerleader, the first thought to come to my mind would almost always be Imagine getting to be on the court as our basketball team wins the national championship. I would think of the excitement of wearing my dream school’s logo across my chest, and the opportunity to stay involved in the sport that I love. Never in a million years did I expect my life as a Villanova Cheerleader to turn out in the way that it has thus far. Being a part of the Villanova Cheer team is so much more than getting to be a part of the best basketball games in the country, it has heightened my self-confidence, strength, time-management, and dedication to being a strong team member. The functionality of the team depends on each and every individual showing up and giving 110% on any given day. Being a part of the Villanova Cheerleading team is a dream that I never thought would actually come true – but I am so beyond grateful for all of the opportunities that come along with it! I am grateful, and not to mention stronger, for all of the hard lessons that I have learned while being on this team, and for the lessons in balancing schoolwork with a large time commitment.
Life as a Villanova Cheerleader has meant that I get to live my college years with the best seat in the house at almost every game. I have always loved getting to be on the football sidelines or sitting courtside, and the fact that I get to do so for my favorite teams continues to blow my mind. While I have to sacrifice having my Saturdays free, I get to spend time cheering on a great football team with some of my very best friends! I absolutely love getting to see the student sections fill up in anticipation for a big game and getting to lead the crowd in support of our team. The best part about being a cheerleader is getting to be such a central part of the excitement and support from both ends of the spectrum – I get to be heavily involved with the crowd and band as we do dances and cheers to encourage excitement while showing up for a team that is always grateful to have us there.
As anyone would expect, though, the highlight of being a part of the cheerleading team comes with the start of basketball season. Basketball season brings with it a whole different level of energy that I am confident no other school would be able to duplicate. Every time I stand on the floor getting ready for player intros and tip-off I get chills – the Pavilion is electric when it comes to supporting our basketball team. While I have been enjoying cheering for our football team, I truly cannot wait to cheer for this year’s basketball team. When thinking of what Villanova cheerleading does, it is impossible not to think of basketball. I will never be able to express enough gratitude for the opportunities that I have been given due to my involvement with the Villanova Cheer program. Within the course of the past year, not only did I travel with the women’s basketball team to Chicago for their Big East tournament, I also was on the court for the 2019 Men’s Big East Championship! Throughout my past two years at Villanova there has not been many times that have rivaled the week I spent in New York cheering for the Wildcats. While I haven’t sat courtside for a National Championship per se, I have had some pretty incredible opportunities thanks to the cheer team. I am beyond thrilled to continue my involvement with the cheerleading team and to continue to see the opportunities that come my way.
One thing that people tend to not realize about cheerleading teams is that they extend far beyond simply cheering for the university’s other sporting programs. While we do have a commitment to being at all football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball games, being a cheerleader also includes a commitment to our own personal goals. Outside of cheering games and travelling the country with the basketball team, the Villanova Cheerleading program also competed in the National cheerleading competition. Competing on top of cheering different games meant even more practice times, even more intense weightlifting and tumbling sessions, and even more missed school, but came with countless memories, laughs, and achievements. This past January I was lucky enough to be a part of our competitive team and travel to Florida, where we competed in a small all-girl division and placed seventh! Participating in the national’s team offered me even more team-development skills, as we overcame countless obstacles, and gave me memories that will last a lifetime. It goes without saying that being a member of such a time-intensive team comes with its sacrifices – less time to spend with family and friends, less time for homework, and challenges to find time for other extra-curricular activities – but these sacrifices have led to some of the greatest memories from my time at Villanova thus far. There really is nothing better than life as a Villanova Cheerleader!