Cheer Changes

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By: Aliycia Webster

“He helped us win three State Championships and so I felt a lot of loyalty to him and was grateful for all he had done for our program over the years.  But we were at a standstill…” states Julie Smith-Boyd. Grandville Varsity Cheer holds a strong title throughout the community and even the state, major credit has to go to the head coach, Julie Smith-Boyd, who’s been coaching the team for thirty-nine years. Throughout Julie’s coaching career, many changes have been implemented from year to year. Team 39, is a prime example of change. Going from ten seniors, to now six has definitely left a hole to fill, however, Julie Smith-Boyd comments that “This year’s seniors are very motivated, dedicated and are making this season fun.” along with the juniors and the other extraordinary members on the team! 

This past spring, the Grandville cheer program has received a new tumbling coach named Dominic Johnson, who has already made a tremendous impact on the Grandville cheer teams. This was by far one of the bigger changes that have occurred this season and many would agree that Dominic and his team, have been a major influence on the performance and skill level of Grandville cheer so far. When thinking about it now, is change truly needed in order for success to occur? This question was asked to multiple coaches and athletes, specifically affiliated to the cheer teams and they all answered with agreeance, that yes, change is something that is needed if one wishes to generate any type of success; otherwise, a sense of stagnation will transpire. 

A well-known coach to all Grandville athletes, Tully Chapman answers, “Yea constantly. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” This reference is one that many hold strongly to when pondering between the idea of change; whether one should change or remain in a stage of stagnation. A current varsity cheerleader, Jane Durham, shares about a valuable moment where she was experiencing difficulties with her tumbling skills and how she persevered through. “For a while, I was stuck on getting my tuck, I would often get it and then lose it again which was very difficult for me mentally. But with lots of support from my teammates, coaches, and hard work, I finally got it and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t lose it. This helped me a lot because when I’m having a hard time getting something in life, or school and become very frustrated, I can always remember to take a deep breath and that it’s okay to ask for help and support from others.” Senior captain, Mackenna Tomaszewski describes her past experience on a team called Team 37 and about the change in the amount of seniors that year, “The year we lost all the seniors and only had three left made me realize I had to step up and help the seniors since I was on the team the year before, I could help them.”  

Sometimes, a change is something that can not be physically seen until later on or through an action; one can mentally, or personally, be altered from an experience. Another big outcome that has stood out to not just Grandville, but all of Michigan is the legalization of inversion stunts this year. Kenzie Brower, former cheerleader and now assistant coach commented, “This is a large step for many teams because it allows for a much larger range of stunts and I can’t wait to see everyone’s unique style work around this change.” Changes are something that should be positive. As long as everyone involved is willing to allow growth, the most valuable lessons could be learned and the chances for success would flourish.  

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