“GO! GO! GO!” The fans cheer as Chugiak scores. They are led by the hard-working Chugiak Cheer Team, whatever the weather – wind, rain or snow.
Despite their own athleticism, the Chugiak cheer team does have some downtime while they await a playmaking cheer to get them moving. Even if they’re moving, it can get downright cold here in the 49th state.
Often times, that means the girls are keeping the elements at bay with a just clear poncho over their uniforms.
Coach Ellie Greenlund has some valid concerns about having her team appropriately outfitted, saying,
“Sometimes these girls are standing out here in the elements for hours without the proper warm gear, and the majority of our season is in colder weather; we need uniforms we can layer. I can’t risk having them get sick.”
So, the team is looking into ways to keep warm, and thus stay healthy while on the field. They are fundraising in order to travel with the team and purchase warm up gear. Greenlund explains that this is a unique team that really contributes to the game. They make sure to recognize every valuable point by doing a pushup for every point on the scoreboard, after every score, until they reach 50 points. They count by five’s thereafter. During the game on August 26th, they did 208 pushups in addition to their cheering.
“These girls are pretty amazing,” she says, “They don’t care what the weather delivers, they are just eager to get out on the field and spur their team on to success. I just want to ensure their well being.” Without the proper gear, the entire team is prone to illness. There are currently 13 members on the team, which she hopes to grow into a larger stunt team next year.
With 3 seniors and 7 juniors on the team, it was freshman Emily Rand who expressed how grateful the team is to have the chance to travel and stay warm especially in places like Fairbanks, “It’s an amazing opportunity, and we will push through anything. We are going to work hard to raise the money for the warm-ups though.”
Senior Dawn Banfield is also looking out for the team’s future, “We’re raising money to support all the years to come. We take trips to colder places, and sometimes the weather is just bad. The uniforms matter now as they will propel the team in the future, and most girls want to continue on the team throughout high school. The fundraising will help get us to the away games, too.” Regardless, she says, ”We just push through the cold by cheering more.”
The last game at Chugiak is Sept 29th which is seniors night. Semi finals are October 7th in Palmer and finals are October 14th.
“If we go all the way, these girls could very well be cheering in snow.” Greenlund says.
To reach their goal, they are starting with an Italian ice and baked goods booth at the game on September 15th at Chugiak, and at every game thereafter.