By Caleigh O’Toole
On January 8th, the popular streaming service Netflix released a new docuseries, Cheer. The hit six-episode series is now one of the top binge-worthy shows Netflix has to offer. The series focuses on a small junior college and their fight to become the best collegiate cheer program in the nation.
Navarro College is a small town junior college in Corsicana, Texas, but do not let the term “junior college” fool you. The team, run by Cheer’s fiercist coach, Monica Aldama, has won 14 championships since 2000 in the junior college division. They won these in partnership with 5 “Grand National” titles, meaning they achieved the highest score of the entire competition, including even four-year, division one colleges.
The show begins by placing viewers inside the Bulldogs’ gym, where they are introduced to how collegiate cheer works. There is one major competition held at the end of the season in Daytona Beach, Florida. Teams from across the country try and take home a national title.
The Navarro Cheer program holds tryouts every year and had a roster of 38 athletes for the 2019-2020 season. However, out of the 38 on the team, only 20 “make mat.” This is an expression used throughout the entire series. What this means is that in order to fully compete on the Daytona stage, a cheerleader must be one of the top 20 athletes on the team. If a cheerleader doesn’t make it, he or she will be cheering from the sidelines.
The best part about the docuseries is that everyone can enjoy it. Longtime cheerleader Maria Grady says, “It is a great human interest story. You don’t have to love cheerleading to love the series.” As viewers watch the show, they grow to love each one of the characters and become emotionally invested in their stories.
A personal favorite was Morgan Simainer, whose compelling story was introduced in the beginning of the series. The audience learns about her childhood and how she lived with her grandparents because her biological parents were never in the picture. Head Coach Monica says that she is proud of finding kids like Morgan who have had a troubled upbringing. She likes to find the potential in these kids and treats them as her own.
In the final episode of the docuseries, viewers see what life was like for some of the athletes in the months after the Daytona competition.
The Netflix sensation has opened doors for Monica and her squad, making Navarro College a top choice for cheerleaders across the country. America is certainly rooting for the Navarro Bulldogs to take home a Cheerleading National Championship.