by Tori Pender
Rider’s cheer team has missed many opportunities since the beginning of the pandemic, but that is not stopping the group from becoming innovative.
Junior popular music studies major and cheer captain Trevor Sullivan said, “Because of the pandemic, our [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference] Tournament in spring 2020 ended abruptly for us, as it did for the basketball teams, band, Rider Dance Team and media team.”
Typically, the cheer team would perform at every home game for men’s and women’s basketball, however, because of state guidelines, that was no longer allowed.
“Due to the pandemic, the NCA College National Cheer Competition in Daytona, Florida, was also put on hold,” said Sullivan.
In 2019, the cheer team placed 10th place in NCA under the Intermediate All Girls Division 1 category, according to Varsity TV.
Sullivan said, “And in fall 2020, we missed our performance in Rider’s Midnight MAACness and all basketball games due to the pandemic.”
Even with all the cancellations, the cheer team has become innovative with their events.
“This semester we plan on trying to have a collaboration with the Rider Dance Team, so that may be virtual or in person,” stated Sullivan.
In the past, a movie night was hosted by the team and there is a possibility of another in the future. One of the things the team misses the most is performing during basketball games.
Nicole Infermo, junior psychology major and second-year team member said, “Our team looks forward to practicing and performing a routine to not only showcase our team but also kick off the basketball season. And lastly, one of the hardest parts about this pandemic has been not being able to cheer on our basketball teams this season.”
“We do still log on and watch the games virtually but it’s nothing like being at a game and cheering on our fellow Broncs,” said Infermo.
Adapting to the ever-changing guidelines has been hard for performance and team-based clubs.
Sullivan said, “To adapt to this time, the team has begun to heavily use our group chats so that we are all aware that we aren’t alone in this world.”
Technology can only go so far on a contact team.
Infermo added, “The most challenging aspect of meeting via Zoom for cheer is the fact that we can’t work on and progress in our stunts. Stunting is a big part of our routines and not being able to meet in person to perfect and keep learning new stunts is very hard.”
Even though being all online has many cons, it has helped the team grow.
“I am so lucky to be a part of an amazing team filled with amazing people. Our group chat is always going off with funny TikToks or old pictures and videos from past seasons,” said Infermo.
As the group is growing closer together, their captain enjoys the challenge of cheer via Zoom.
“I think I like the fact that it is more of a challenge to keep up with my team physically,” said Sullivan.
While the physical aspects of the team are a challenge, this has inspired the group to become creative in other ways.
Infermo said, “Our group chat is always talking about ways to create events for this season that involves team bonding and the welcoming of potential new members. Everything is still in the works and more ideas are being created, so the best way to stay connected with our team and future events are by following our Rider Cheer Instagram page.”
Published in the 4/14/21 edition of The Rider News