When you think of cheerleading, you likely picture a group of girls done up to the nines with pom-poms standing on the side of an American Football field keeping the crowd's spirits up.
What you probably don't envisage is a group of hardened athletes putting their mind and bodies on the line, performing increasingly dangerous moves with no real prospect of a sports career after college.
Cheer on Netflix is a new documentary by the makers of the streaming giant's mega popular, Last Chance U. The six episode series follows the team at Navarro College from Corsicana, Texas as they prepare for the National Championships at the cheerleading-Mecca, Daytona Beach.
They are under the guidance of coach Monica Aldama, a 14-time NCA National Championship winner, not to mention her five "Grand National" designations. Grand National status is awarded to the team with the highest overall score in that year's competition. Aldama, for Last Chance U viewers, is basically as demanding as Coach Brown but without all the controversy.
The show provides a fascinating insight into the lives of various cheerleaders, all at different skill levels and with different roles within the team. From Gabi Butler, a cheerleading superstar amongst younger generations trying to cope with the pressure and expectation (mainly from her demanding parents) to Morgan Simianer, a young Wyoming woman fighting for her spot on the mat (you will learn all the cheerleading lingo fast) whilst dealing with her difficult past.
People all over the world can't get enough of the action:
Kealia: I’ve heard people say CHEER on Netflix is really good, we should watch it.
Me: I guess we can give it a shot.
Me 2 episodes in: JERRY HARRIS IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF NAVARRO COLLEGE CHEERLEADING. IF HE DOESN’T MAKE THE MAT, I WILL RIOT.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 21, 2020
Boss: So, what are your career goals?
Me: I want to cheer for Navarro. I mean, I’m 35 and I’ve never cheered before, but I feel like Monica would be able to see my commitment and give me a shot.
— Three Dogs and a Baby (@Full_House_KC) January 20, 2020
ME WATCHING CHEER EPISODE 1: where are the pom poms
ME WATCHING CHEER EPISODE 6: if monica gives these flyers the privilege of performing on mat for daytona then they simply must nail pyramid because this is navarro and it takes more than a flawless basket to
— Ben Rosen (@ben_rosen) January 13, 2020
Cheer may not be the most obvious sports documentary on Netflix but it's definitely worth watching and although it hasn't officially been renewed for a second season, it feels like an inevitability at this stage.