July 23, 2019

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The Heart Behind the Purple and Gold

Each and every Saturday night, as the pregame clock winds down, Tiger Stadium fills with enthusiasm and thrill from the lowest seat in the student section to the highest of the Skyline Club. Fireworks and music electrify the stadium boosting the morale of everyone inside. The LSU Cheerleaders are amongst the hundreds of thousands of people giddy with excitement but maintaining their composure in order to perform for the duration of the gameday. The 2018-2019 LSU Cheerleaders are a team composed of 36 talented male and female athletes. The huge time commitment requires student-athletes to juggle the life of being a responsible student while managing their time dedicated to practices five days a week, gamedays, competitions, clinics, and media appearances.

Assistant coach and former LSU Cheerleader Shelby Spurlock explained that being an LSU Cheerleader was one of the best experiences of her life, so much that she had to find a way to remain involved after she graduated. Spurlock is on her fourth season as a coach and is more excited than ever. Over the years, she has learned that “it is imperative to cherish each moment because you never know how long it may last,” and that “many young girls and boys look up to her and the other cheerleaders as role models and examples.”As the team is close to concluding the football season, they remain excited for the upcoming national competition as well as the other sports they cheer for including basketball, volleyball, beach volleyball, and gymnastics.

While the majority of the team’s athletes have had the dream of representing the LSU Cheerleading Squad for most of their lives, many started out from humble beginnings. Co-captain Allison Smith is a senior from Loranger, LA and has been involved in cheerleading at LSU for the duration of her collegiate career. The student-athlete began participating in gymnastics at a recreational level at two years old, improving her tumbling skills and cheering on the sidelines for the local little league football team. Although she did not participate in competitive cheerleading at a young age, she did soon transition and become involved in her high school years.

Shock’s senior year of high school, she attended many clinics in preparation for her spring tryouts in hopes of becoming a member of the LSU Cheerleading Team. On her first attempt, the talented athlete was offered the opportunity to join the squad and confidently accepted. After four years of tryouts, Shock says that “each one became more nerve-racking because I feel like I have to prove myself even more.” With her growing responsibility as co-captain, she feels that she “wants everyone to look perfect, not just for the presentation, but for themselves as a person.” Over the years, Allison has grown closer and closer to her teammates and coaches, spending more and more time with them as a family. The bond that these athletes started in tryouts, grows with each flip, jump, and tuck, and can be seen through their earnest chemistry every gameday. This upcoming Saturday night, the LSU Football team will be competing against the longstanding rival University of Alabama. The cheerleaders plan on treating this game just like any other, ensuring that they will remain confident in the choreography, secure in their stunts, and charged with energy. Geaux Tigers!