Warning — the following may make you feel old: At 15, cheerleader Hana Conevska is a little worried about the younger generation.
“It’s intimidating for us because you see those little kids go out on the floor and do tricks and tumbling things that we’re doing now and they’re pulling it off better than we are,” said the Dartmouth Spartans cheerleader yesterday.
About 3,500 cheerleaders from four provinces descended on the Halifax Forum over the weekend for the annual CheerExpo Cheerleading and Dance Nationals. Kids as young as three performed their routines in front of the judges with hundreds of spectators watching.
On the other end of the spectrum were the high school, university and adult divisions.
Eleven-year-old Savana Cail is a three-year veteran.
“You walk around and they’re like ‘oh look at the cute little girl.’ It makes me feel kind of little, but it feels good being cute,” she said, still pumped from her 9:40 a.m. performance yesterday.
Conevska said the younger girls remind her of her beginnings in cheerleading.
“They’re like our minis, like our little sisters kind of,” Conevska said. “It’s a lot of us that’s what we looked like a couple years ago.”
Some of the junior teams hoisted girls and tossed them in the air —no doubt making more than one parent’s heart stop — just as easily as the more senior teams.
Cail and her West Halifax Cheer Comets teammate Amy Nelson were up around 6 a.m. yesterday to get dressed and glittered for the final day of competition.
“You get really nervous,” said nine-year-old Nelson, whose voice was fading out from yelling cheers at the top of her lungs for two days.
“My mom even has a shirt that says ‘if cheerleading was easy they’d call it hockey,’” added Cail.
“Hockey’s a really easy sport because you just have to skate around with a stick.”