Stick with it: Ging cheers for the JV squad

Nerves rush through her body. The whole team has dedicated much of their time to make sure the routine goes perfectly. As she walks through the main gym doors, red and white blobs of people surround her in all sections of the stands. The cheering of the students get louder as she takes her spot on the floor. Looking down at the floor, she notices her white cheer shoes. She smiles as the music turns on and her eyes move up to crowd of students in the stands. She’s been doing this for almost seven years. There is nothing to worry about.

This past cheer season, Shannon Ging was one of the ten remaining sophomores who were on the JV cheerleading squad.

“Currently, on the Hinsdale Central cheerleading squad there are only ten sophomores. But throughout the whole time I have been cheerleading, there have probably been about 50 girls to quit the sport. There were always random girls who would join and then quit,” Ging said.

Ging has been cheerleading since fourth grade. But with only 10 sophomores left on the cheerleading squad, the question to be asked is why so many girls drop the sport.

“It’s a really big commitment. Both the Falcon and middle school cheerleading programs had strict attendance requirements. If you were involved in another sport, it would’ve been difficult to participate in both,” Ging said. “Cheerleading is a very unique sport with several different components. You have to really enjoy it to continue to stick with it.”

Teammate Karsen Kolnicki, sophomore, has also been cheerleading with Shannon since she was in fourth grade.

“Shannon has been one of the girls who has stuck with cheerleading almost as long as me. She brings such a positive atmosphere to the team, which is especially helpful on a rough practice day,” Kolnicki said.

But hard practices aren’t the only difficult aspects of cheerleading. The girls also get bashed with comments from students about how cheerleading isn’t considered a sport especially because the girls do not compete in the IHSA cheerleading competition.

“A lot of people don’t think it’s a sport because we don’t compete. There is an IHSA state competition, but we have never competed in it,” Ging said. “People also believe that we are only cheering on the sidelines of the football and basketball games. But actually most of our time is put into the pep rallies.”

But despite all the negativity towards cheerleading, the girls still have a great time together and have all become a tight-knit group of friends.

“The best part of being on cheerleading at Hinsdale Central is the group of girls. Unlike soccer or basketball, cheerleading lasts through the football and basketball seasons. You are guaranteed a group of friends for that time. Some of my closest friends are girls that I have met through cheer,” Kolnicki said.

Ging started of her first two years with a bang and hopes to continue throughout her next two years. But her leadership goes beyond the walls of the gymnasium.

“I won MVP on my team for the past two years. I also coach the Falcon’s team, the program where I first started my cheerleading career. It’s been a cool experience getting younger girls excited for something I love to do,” Ging said.