For those of us whose athletes were constantly put on the spot to defend their cheer status; “You’re not a cheerleader. What team do you cheer for?” and “Where are your pom-poms?” and, the ever famous, “Cheer is not a sport,” there was a lot of satisfaction yesterday when I turned on NETFLIX and the first show that filled the screen was the trending new docuseries CHEER.
For moms like Debbie Butler, whose well-known, Worlds Champion daughter Gabi is featured in the six episode series, and other longtime all star parents, it was a victory of sorts, the rest of the world would finally see cheer as the true sport that it is.
Today we’re spelling Allstars: V-I-C-T-O-R-Y
If you haven’t binged the first season or had the chance to check it out at all we can tell you that Netflix’s new documentary follows the 2018-19 season of the competitive cheerleaders of Navarro College in Corsicana, TX. Led by Monica Aldama, the small junior college has won 14 National Championships since 2000. All star veterans will recognize prominent industry leaders like competitive cheer event producer Billy Roy Smith and Cheer Athletics’ co-owner Brad Habermel who offer commentary.
In fact, there are as many Cheer Athletics t-shirts worn at practices as there are from Navarro College.
Netflix's press release promoting CHEER says “viewers will join the Navarro College cheerleaders as they face injuries, sacrifice, personal setbacks and triumphs, all leading up to one nail-biting and adrenaline pumping final competition at National Cheerleading Associations (NCA) Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship."
In other words, a typical All star weekend.
Reviews in the Washington Post and USA Today, and social media activity over the last 24-hours that are overwhelmingly positive had me silently saying to myself “It’s about time” and “finally some respect.” Before the series premiered yesterday, CHEER, executive producer and director Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U) said the Navarro College cheerleading team are the "toughest athletes I've ever filmed."
The Hollywood Reporter wrote “CHEER is an utterly convincing portrait of what is unquestionably a real, and absurdly dangerous, sport” and USA TODAY wrote “There is so much more to the sport than stereotypes and teen movies suggest, and Netflix's incredible docuseries "CHEER," from the producers of the great "Last Chance U," will change minds and maybe hearts about this uniquely American subculture.”
But it’s this paragraph in the Post that has some social media threads focusing on another element of cheer: “Haters gonna hate.”
“Incomplete without a shimmering star, 'CHEER' zeroes in on team member Gabi Butler, whose Instagram fame in the cheerleading world has grown so intense that her parents have devoted their lives to managing and marketing her brand. Butler, however, provides a refreshingly down-to-earth insight into the sport; she believes in it passionately yet rolls her eyes at its constant demands.
“Some of the comments about our family, and