Sunday, December 6, 2009


Before I became a boring ol' English teacher, I was a cheer coach. I coached McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and I coached a multitude of middle school and high school cheer squads across South Louisiana. The team I coached the longest - starting in 1998 - was ICCS (Immaculate Conception Cathedral School), a very small private Catholic school, also in Lake Charles. I took the teams to national competitions several times over the years, and they won the national championship twice under my direction and placed 1st runner up one year. The lovely sponsor of this squad - and still is to this day, I should add - became one of the closest friends I've ever known, Christy Papania -Jones. This school's cheer team was especially unique in that everyone who wanted to be a cheerleader WAS a cheerleader. There were no cuts, no hurt feelings - every girl made the team, and that's the way Christy wanted it! It made for several challenging years, but I learned so much about how to coach and teach, even, because of her program. I took these girls from not even knowing the basics all the way to a reputable national champion program, and this school and these girls and Christy will always hold a special place in my heart. They were THE squad to beat in the early 2000s.

I'm writing this entry because I received some old photos yesterday of one of the squads back in those days. This is one of the teams I coached to the national championship! What a group of hard working white girls! And sometimes one black girl. ^^ I felt like reminiscing about my old life not long forgotten. I'm going to peruse around facebook and see if I can scrounge up some more photos. And any old ICCS cheerleaders who found this blog entry, please make your OLD coach happy and post some pics from the good ol' days. :)
In 2005, I choreographed an Español (Spanish)-themed routine. This is the part where the girls said, "Two things you need to know. We'll BEAT you in English... AND ESPAÑOL!" with their sassy hands on hips, cockiness on their faces, and pony tails a'flyin'!
"PANTHERS!" The classic Wolf Wall - we did one every year. Tradition. The Ending Pyramid! BAMMM!! My girls were on FIRE that day! National Champs!

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