(631) 724-1237  (321) 549-6187  info@cheersounds.com

Leaving a Legacy: One Cheerleader’s Strength Inspires Many

Photo: https://www.gofundme.com/aw5fy4

I recently stumbled upon an article about a remarkable young woman and I felt compelled to share. Her name is Alexandria Herndon, or Alexx, as she preferred to be called, and there are so many reasons to admire her. A beautiful girl with an infectious spirit, she is an inspiration to us all.

This is Alexx’s story.

From what I have learned about Alexx, she was the epitome of what a cheerleader should be: spirited, ambitious, dedicated, charismatic, and courageous, to name a few. It is no wonder why Alexx became a crucial member of her cheerleading squad and a beacon of motivation for her school’s football team, the Gwynn Park High School Yellow Jackets. In one story that particularly caught my attention, Alexx managed to turn around the Yellow Jacket’s 0-4 football season in an extraordinary act of bravery. According to the story, after suffering another loss, the football team asked Alexx, who had lost all of her hair from chemotherapy, to remove her wig and expose her bald head before the start of their next football game.

The gesture was not only a sight of inspiration, but a symbol of strength, determination, and perseverance.

The act was surely sensational in and of itself, but what made it even more wondrous was that it worked: the team won the game 40-0. Even more unbelievable? It continued to work again and again, leading the team to a five game winning streak. Alexx even helped to motivate the players to turn around a two touchdown deficit against their rivals, resulting in a one point advantage at the end of the game. The coach and the players made it clear that without Alexx, they would not have had the season that they did; “we dedicated the entire season to her,” one of the boys explains (Harris).

It was during tryouts for the Gwynn Park High School cheerleading squad that Alexx suffered a knee injury that would eventually lead to the discovery of her having osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer prevalent in children and teenagers. Alexx was in ninth grade at this time, and although she had to miss five months of school for chemotherapy and a surgery that replaced part of her knee and femur with a titanium rod, she made it back to school for the final quarter of her freshman year; cancerless and able to cheer. During this time, Alexx excelled as a cheerleader both at games and competitions. Unfortunately, in January of her sophomore year, Alexx found out that her cancer had returned and had spread to her lungs. This did not stop her though, she underwent treatment and returned a few days into her junior year. This time around she was unable to perform with her cheer team, but she still remained an active member by managing the squad and cheering on her fellow cheerleaders. Alexx also boasted impressive academic accomplishments, earning a well deserved spot on the honor roll. According to her family, Alexx lived each day to the fullest despite her worsening condition and maintained a positive attitude until the end. Alexx passed away on May 27, 2015.

In addition to her tremendous impact on her school’s football team, Alexx also had a monumental influence on her cheerleading squad; her optimistic attitude and unwavering spirit helped lead the team to three consecutive U.S. National Championship wins. Plus, she remained dedicated to her cheerleading squad even when her symptoms were painful and her body was weak from treatment. According to her teammates, Alex continued to exceed expectations and perform with her team until she physically could not cheer anymore. One teammate recalls, “she hit all of her stunts, even though she was in pain,” and another explains how Alexx never cried and never stopped fighting, instead she remained positive and always kept a brave face (Harris). Even after she could no longer perform with the team, Alexx remained committed to the team and participated in every way that she could.

Alexx was dedicated to every aspect of her life: her team, her fight, her studies, her dreams, and her desire to influence the lives of others. In many ways she is like a martyr: determined to inspire others, her life has become the ultimate inspiration. Alexx will certainly be missed, but herself and her legacy will never be forgotten. My condolences go out to the friends and family of this very special young woman. Rest in peace, Alexx.

Sources:

Harris, Hamil. “Cheerleader’s Strength Fighting Cancer Inspired Classmates, Family and Friends.” The Washington Post. 11 June 2015. Web. 29 June 2015.

Petersen, Kirsten. “Brandywine School Rallies behind Cancer-stricken Student.” Gazette.Net. 26 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 June 2015.

Starling, Alison. “Friends, Family, Community Rally around Alexandria Herndon, Md. High School Student with Cancer.” ABC 7. Allbritton Communications Company, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 June 2015.

10 Things All Cheerleaders Can Relate To: Pets Edition

1. When you see bad motions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who taught you how to cheer?

 

2. When your coach says practice is going to be easy today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re all going to die.

 

3. When someone says that cheerleading isn’t a sport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sorry, but I don’t remember asking for your opinion. 

 

4. When your S.O. says that cheerleading isn’t a sport and then tries to kiss you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not speaking to you.

 

5. When your coach says that you are only doing conditioning today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excuse me, what?

 

6. When you are posing for a cheer photo and the photographer is taking forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it looks like I can hold this scorpion forever, but that doesn’t mean I want to.

 

7. When you just cannot get your hair right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I give up.

 

8. When you practice your cheer face in the mirror and you finally perfect it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must stay like this until Nationals.

 

9. When you hear the girls of your rival team fighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This oughta be good…

 

10. When you’re trying to take your uniform off after a long day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’M STUCK.

Cheer Music: The Good vs. The Bad

You know that feeling when your cheer music finally arrives?

You ordered your music a few weeks ago and you have been anxiously awaiting its arrival ever since. You find yourself constantly worrying over whether or not your music is going to exceed your expectations or if it is going to fall short. You are excited and nervous, impatient yet apprehensive… and now it is finally here.

You text your teammates to notify them of the music’s arrival, knowing that you can’t listen to it without them. After all, the first listen of your cheer mix is basically ceremonial in the cheer world. It is something that must be done as a team.

When you get to the gym, everyone looks nervous. Amy is in the corner biting her nails. Beth is on the floor, rocking back and forth. Even Kerri, who never shows any emotion, has a concerned look plastered to her face.

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Photo: WebMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You guys ready?”

They nod and gather around you.

waiting2

Photo: Pinterest

You take a deep breath and press play…

And.

It’s.

PERFECT!

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Photo: CMT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is literally everything you wanted and then some. You are ecstatic. Your teammates are ecstatic. You guys collectively let out a sigh of relief.

celebrate2

Photo: CMT

From that moment on, practices run smoother and more efficiently. Everyone is active, energetic, motivated: you guys are hitting your stunts, nailing your tumbling passes, perfecting your choreography. All of the stress and tension that once was, is suddenly gone.

choreography

Photo: Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

practice

Photo: NorthGate High School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re convinced that your cheer mix was sent from Heaven.

Luckily, cheerleading music is much easier to come by today than it was twenty or so years ago. This accessibility is the result of the internet and the subsequent emergence of the cheer music production industry, which has blessed us with pre-made and custom mixes at our fingertips. Prior to this, cheerleaders and coaches had to rely upon networking and word of mouth to find producers to make their music, which was easier said than done.

Those cheerleaders and coaches did not have any other choice but to get their music in such a way, but what if you, the consumer who does have the option to use a reliable service, decided not to? What could your music buying experience be like?

Let’s see for ourselves….

You’ve been shopping around for cheer music for quite some time now. The problem is that you can’t seem to find anyone to produce it. Your local DJ offered but he can’t even play the “Macarena” right, so that’s a no go. Your friend Bethany suggested a big time production studio but they are too expensive. What to do…

Desperate, you settle for your only available and affordable option: that guy you know, well kinda know.. he’s like the brother of your friend’s sister’s husband’s best friend or something like that. It’s not sketchy, you tell yourself.

Yeah, nothing sketchy about that… the lack of a studio, cash only rule, and desire to be contacted via carrier pigeon isn’t sketchy either (okay, I exaggerated a bit, but you get my point).

So you have no other choice but to use this nameless producer guy who is a friend of a friend of a friend, and although your expectations are low, you try to remain optimistic. How bad could it be, right? On the day that it arrives, you are feeling pretty good. The CD has a few scratches on it, but you’ve seen worse.

You text your teammates to notify them of the music’s arrival, knowing that you can’t listen to it without them. After all, the first listen of your cheer mix is basically ceremonial in the cheer world. It is something that must be done as a team.

When you get to the gym, everyone looks nervous. Amy is in the corner biting her nails. Beth is on the floor, rocking back and forth. Even Kerri, who never shows any emotion, has a concerned look plastered to her face. 

Photo: WebMD

Photo: WebMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You guys ready?”

They nod and gather around you.

waiting2

Photo: Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You take a deep breathe and press play…

And.

It’s.

AWFUL!

Cheerleader-Crying-In-a-Car-On-a-Rainy-Day

Photo: MrWGifs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generic songs. Generic phrases. He used “Eye of the Tiger,” for crying out loud! And the quality.. it’s horrendous!

crying

Photo: Lawrence Journal-World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is literally the worst thing that you have ever heard in your entire life. You are devastated. Your teammates are devastated. You collectively groan in utter despair.

From that moment on, practices are nothing short of catastrophic. Everyone is volatile, bitter, pessimistic: you guys are falling from stunts, missing your tumbling passes, butchering your choreography. All of the stress and tension that once was, has manifested tenfold.

falling2

Photo: USA Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

falling

Photo: REUTERS/ Jason Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re convinced that your cheer mix is the spawn of Satan.

Dun Dun Dun…

The good news is that was only a hypothetical situation of what could have happened had you decided to use that nameless producer guy instead of a reliable cheer music production company, like CheerSounds! And the better news is that now that you have seen the horrors that could unfold if you do use that nameless producer guy, you’ll never choose him over a quality cheer music production company (like CheerSounds) again.

And that, is certainly something to cheer about.

taycheer

Photo: MTV

Competition Cheerleading: Then & Now

With a new competitive cheer year fast approaching, we thought it’d be fun to take a trip down memory lane to visit the meager beginnings of what is now the fiercest, finest and quite frankly, the most fabulous sport ever: competition cheerleading (okay, so maybe we are a little biased). This mini history lesson shows the evolution of competitive cheer from college squads to all-star teams, gymnasiums to arenas, and thigh stands to one man’s, culminating with its placement today, as one of the most popular sports in the world. Competition cheerleading has come a long way in only a few decades, and as the pacesetters of the sport, we deserve a pat on the back for making it everything that it is today. After all, it’s pretty impressive that we were able to transform cheerleading from this:

pic1

to this:

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in just 40 years.

Let us now travel back to the 1960’s, when competitive cheerleading was in its developmental stages…

Collegiate Beginnings: 1960-1970

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Competition Cheerleading debuts in the 1960’s at collegiate competitions, where university teams battle for awards distributed by the International Cheerleading Foundation (now the World Cheerleading Association) and for a spot on their “Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads” annual ranking. Although mild stunts and tumbling are included in these routines, this new style of cheerleading is still in its initial phases.

The Cheerleading Routine is Born: 1970-1980

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In 1975, the “cheerleading routine” is born at a UCA College Spirit Camp when instructors incorporate music in a cheerleading skills demonstration. Three years later, the Collegiate Cheerleading Championships are broadcasted on television for the first time and people have the opportunity to see cheerleading as much more than sidelines chants and pom poms. Tumbling and stunts also become more advanced. As a result, the sport gains popularity and attracts the attention of prospective athletes.

Cheerleading Hits the Small Screen: 1980-1990

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The Universal Cheerleaders Association hosts the first Cheerleading National Competition in 1982. The competition airs on ESPN and increases our fascination with competitive cheerleading even more, especially because routines have become more sophisticated and complex. It is also during this time that competitive cheer becomes an internationally recognized sport with schools across the globe offering cheerleading programs.

All Star Cheer Emerges and Begins Building its Empire: 1990-2000

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The 1990’s are iconic of the beginning of the All-Star Cheerleading era. Prior to this, cheerleading programs are mainly offered by schools, but because of the sport’s unprecedented growth, non-school cheerleading organizations begin to develop across the United States. Additionally, the UCA begins sending USA cheerleaders to perform in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, creating a global interest in All-Star cheerleading. Soon after, international All-Star teams form and begin travelling to various locations in order to participate in world cheerleading events. All-Star teams become known for fast-paced routines that incorporate synchronized dance with impressive stunts and tumbling passes.

Worlds Takes Over the Millennium: The 2000’s

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Competition cheer explodes in the millennium and in 2004, the USASF/IASF host the first ever Cheerleading Worlds Championship in Walt Disney World! At this competition, fourteen of the top internationally-recognized teams compete for the World Championship title. The competition subsequently becomes the most prestigious event in the cheer world and is held annually from then on.

Better than Ever: Today

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Today, competitive cheerleading is bigger and better than ever! Routines are jam-packed with jaw-dropping stunts, expert tumbling passes and meticulous choreography. Teams are constantly making routines more creative and more innovative in order to keep up with the demands of increasingly tougher competition. Today’s cheerleaders are undoubtedly forces to be reckoned with. Our cheer-cestors would be proud.

Sources:https://cheerunion.org/history/cheerleading/

 

8CountMixer Disrupts Cheer Music Market

8CountMixer launched last June. It aimed to allow cheerleaders, coaches and their mothers to create their own cheer mix online. The website is meant to provide a $700-sounding product for $300 or less, with the trade-off being that you have to create the mix yourself (although this is viewed as a bonus by many users).   At the inception of this idea, we realized that this would disrupt the entire cheer music market, but we had reason to add fuel to the fire.

Back in 2011, we were running a campaign titled “Make An Impact”, which was just after “Leave Your Mark” and before “Dream Big” which both had greater success.  Although this campaign applied to custom music, it was really meant for something we were designing years before anyone knew about it – 8CountMixer.  Although custom music mixes featured original music and awesome voice over artists, the real impact the campaign referred to was our effort to make a broad stroke on the industry: the ability for anybody to make their own cheer music.

Carmine reflects on the project: “Aside from making the music process more readily-available for teams, we had a hunch there would be three significant side-effects from [8CountMixer].  We took these into serious consideration because they would drastically affect the cheer music market. One of the largest deciding factors to proceed was the lack of direction from the others in the industry. 

I was a member of a little-known group called the Cheer Music Mixer’s Association, where almost all of the world’s cheerleading music producers used to chat about industry news.  In short, there was some foulness taking place toward the end of 2011 that only a few know about, and cheer music was honestly on the verge of collapse.  In order to best protect the future of cheer music, we had to make several large changes – one of them being the decentralization of cheerleading music production – putting production into the hands of the people.  “

After lengthy discussions throughout 2011, the development of 8CountMixer was started in 2012. Here are the three predicted side affects Carmine and his team spoke of, all of which became a reality in the first year of 8CountMixer’s launch:

1. The demand for custom music will drop significantly

Most high school and middle school teams budget up to $300 for their music. However, teams shopping for $300 custom music are unfortunately missing out on the modern cheer music experience. At $300, there is no budget for the vocalists and voice overs that today’s cheer music requires.  There is also little headroom for making edits. However, 8CountMixer’s voiceover library boasted more than 800 (now over 1,000) modern voice over clips that can be used in the mix,  and customers can edit their mix as much as they would like.

“The goal was to blow them all away”, says Carmine. “We wanted to make sure it improved upon the old way of thinking about cheer music, so we built it so teams could make music at practice, and practice to their music before ever spending a penny”. The use-it-before-you-buy-it feature continues to attract many teams.

Although CheerSounds specializes in custom music – and continues to do so – we cannot ignore the fact that 8CountMixer provides the ability to create a $700 product for $300.  It might not be for everyone, but we encourage everyone to try it out for free!

2. The number of young cheer music producers increases significantly

If cheer music is now a few mouse clicks within our music library, more people (mostly the ambitious athletes) are going to realize the potential to make music for others at a profit. We jokingly said every team would have one athlete who buys music on 8CountMixer and resells it to their coach for $350. Within weeks, we noticed the trend in our purchase logs.  Some of the more entrepreneurial athletes were spinning up their own businesses providing this service for multiple gyms! They can rest easy, knowing that we wrote our licensing software properly to keep them out of trouble!

3. All cheer music is expected to have original vocal content

If the $300 product now has male and female rappers, custom song arrangement and sound effect placement, then what should every product over $300 have?  The expectation of cheer music has risen once again. Custom music producers raise their prices to provide these services while 8CountMixer maintains a steady, budget-friendly rate.

What does this mean for you? It means you have a lot more awesome music available to you at the same budget as before.

Version 2.0

Today, we unofficially launched 8CountMixer 2.0 (https://www.8countmixer.com) to get some real-world testing before the official launch.  The updated website has a faster and more organized interface, and has many more features including music effects, 70 new songs, 200 more vocals, trimming tracks from front and back, splitting mixes, multiple tempos, etc.

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We want to thank everyone who has supported this project and we can only hope it has made your lives easier! And keep your ears open for two more launches of equal magnitude by the end of June!

 

 

CheerPrints by Carmine of CheerSounds

You’ve probably already sensed this coming, but Carmine of CheerSounds has started CheerPrints, an apparel company focused on designs and prints specifically for cheer and dance. Be sure to check out the facebook page and the website. If you’re wheels are turning, you’ll realize how easy this makes getting T-Shirts that feature your music’s Voice Overs 😀

Pricing starts at 14.95 per shirt with free art and free shipping. Email info@cheerprints.com for details.

cheerprints-screenshot

Infinity AllStars (IAS) Symphonic Team Anthem

Although most of the anthems we make have a pop or electronic foundation, some teams prefer the symphonic, movie-esque sound more. Fortunately, several of our staff love writing in this style, and have the capabilities to perform the string & piano parts live. Combine that with our instantly-recognizable lyrics and you have an amazingly unique and epic sound.

Preceded only by Crimson Heat’s (UK) symphonic anthem, this is the second original string arrangement ever made for the cheerleading industry!

Why You Need Cheer Anthems

Cheerleading Music Anthems and Original Hooks

So you say you want your music to be fierce, creative and unique. However, how unique is it to choose songs that are top 40 hits? Or worse yet, hearing a song for your Senior 5 team in a Mini 1 team’s mix. Yikes, that’s not very original.  It is hard to find songs that appeal to yourself, the team, parents and judges. However, have you ever thought your team could have its own anthem?

An Anthem is not what you may think it is. It’s not a chant or a cheer or a two-second punch line. An anthem is original music and vocals that are produced specifically for your team. Anthems are typically anywhere from four to eight 8 counts of music. They are completely unique sections of your mix meant for those who are serious about recognition and competition. Elite and Champion customers replace songs with Anthems.

Although you may think you have a creative and unique mix, remember that there are probably over a thousand teams using that same T-Swift song. You want a sassy mix? Anthems deliver just that. Impress the judges, make other teams jealous, and get the recognition you’ve always wanted.

Cheerleading Anthems for cheer music mixesTeams often end up loving their anthems so much they use the lyrics as their signature phrases. Once you have a coined phrase, you become a more identifiable team for that season. People will automatically relate a saying to your gym without thinking twice. It’s a great way to create a lasting impression and build a bigger fan base.

So if you’re looking to top the rest, go for the best. Get a Cheer Anthem created for your team’s mix and be the one being envied!

T-Shirt Fundraiser

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Holiday timeDevilRay AllStars copys are perfect for fundraising! No more car washes and cookies. It’s Team Shirt Time!! This year,  CheerSounds.com would like to give back by offering TEAM FUNDRAISING T-SHIRTS for only $8.75! We will work with you to create fierce custom designs for your gym, team or school. All of your artwork is free along with free shipping through the 48 contiguous US states. We’ll design and print your full-front shirt with unlimited colors! We suggest a $15 price point to sell shirts to your supporters. This will allow your organization togenerate a 41 percent profit! Help your supporters represent your organization, and raise money for your program at the same time! Contact us today to get started!! Fundraising shirts arHansonYouthCheer copye only offered in quantities of 20 or more as a white shirt with up to 11.5”width x 16”height print.

 

To Get Started, email info@cheersounds.com or call 631-724-1237

 

 

 

 

Are You Ready?

Competition is one word that describes a flood of emotions. Excitement, nervousness and happiness are just a few of the feelings that flow through a cheerleader’s veins during competition season. So what’s the best way to prepare?

 

Mentally

blog picture cheer 1

When you’re at cheer, be sure you’re focus is razor sharp. Prepare yourself mentally by envisioning yourself hitting every stunt and tumbling pass just the way you want to do it. Envision yourself nailing your tumbling pass. Think of how you should start, where you should be mid-way and how you should land. There is a difference between tumbling through focus and tumbling through anger. Raw emotion may bring you a quick boost of adrenaline, but will overall not allow you to succeed in consistently landing your tumbling passes. Training through focus will give you more of chance at hitting your tumbling pass every time.In order to help further your cheer mentality, watch videos of your practices. Pinpoint yourself and learn from your errors. Get completely immersed in cheer. Watch other team’s videos as well to get a full perspective of your competition. Know who you are up against and prepare to bring your best!

_MG_0696Physically

Get as much practice as possible! Make sure you are prepared and on time for every practice. If you are 20 minutes late to practice time, you are essentially missing an entire practice per week!  The elite gyms will either send you home or make you sit out the whole practice. That’s missed time for you and your stunt group is now out a person. Pack all your gear the night before. Leave it in the car if you have to! In addition tough practices, be sure to prepare your body in other ways as well. A good night’s sleep and a steady, clean diet throughout the season will help keep your cheer physique in the best condition possible.


Emotionally

Cheer is tough. Break through the brick wall and be the best you can be. Clear your head of everything except the goal ahead: winning competition. Of course, there is life going on outside of cheer, but those emotions need to be set aside in order to be successful.

Emotions can really take a toll on your mind and body. Remember that you have control of your emotions; your emotions do not have control over you. If you let your emotions take over, it can not only be consequential to your cheer career, but to your team’s prosperity as well.

For example, there was once a cheerleader named Kristy. Kristy had recently gone through a breakup. During practices, there was a significant difference in her performance. She had low energy, and was often distracted. Kristy’s stunt positiondsc_0017 as a base began to suffer. She was not keeping her flyer stable. The top level of the pyramid wasn’t hitting. Her stunt group had to constantly re-do the same stunt because she could not get it together during practices.  As frustrating as it may have been for her to keep repeating the same stunt, her team was getting frustrated with her lack of attention to what was happening at that moment.

Think of the day you tried out. Think of how hard you tried, where your mindset was. You were probably nervous, anxious and excited. You had high energy and were ready to bring it. That’s how you need to come to practice every time. If Kristy was performing at tryouts the way she is now, she would have never made the team. It may sound harsh, but remember, being part of a team requires everyone’s effort, attention and focus at all times.