Let’s face it. Sometimes, it’s tough defending yourself as a cheerleader. Despite all of the conditioning, athleticism, and pure heart you put into the sport, some will balk and have the nerve to say you are not an athlete. While you know that not to be the case, one thing you can say is that sport or no sport, cheerleaders have the biggest hearts when it comes to supporting any cause.

Case in point? The cheerleaders from Garden Oaks Montessori, a pre-Kinder to 8th grade public Montessori school near downtown Houston, recently supported the Wounded Warriors Amputee football team in their annual Super Bowl. These cheerleaders banded together to welcome, cheer, and support the team composed of men and women who lost a limb while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Like the cheerleaders from Garden Oaks Montessori, most squads always have others’ best interests in mind. Here are three areas we know cheerleaders just can’t be beat:

Always cheering for a cause.
Cheerleaders spend a lot of their time on the sidelines supporting their school team, or in the audience supporting their squad at competitions. But, what some may not realize is that cheerleaders also use their vibrant personalities to cheer on causes. Some attend certain community events every year; others might visit seniors in assisted living homes to warm hearts. There’s no doubt about it, cheerleaders are always cheering for a cause.

Emily Ward, cheer coach at Garden Oaks Montessori, said, “I think this is what cheerleading is all about–cheering for a cause–whether it's your school team, Pink Ribbon Week, or bringing spirit to any event. In this instance, it was showing support for the men and women out there defending our freedom. It was our way of saying, ‘we stand behind you! We support you! We are here for you, and we love you!"

Emily–we couldn’t have said it better.

You cry when they cry. As a cheerleader, you put your heart and soul into supporting other teams. You are everyone’s biggest fan. No matter the sport, event or competition, you not only deal with your own emotions, but you also vicariously feel other’s emotions. Their win is your win. Their heartbreak is your heartbreak. You may be on the sidelines, but you know the work that’s been put forth and you can hardly keep your emotions in check–win or lose.

Cheer coaches experience the same emotions. Ward said, “we had the honor of leading the Pledge of Allegiance. I almost cried as I looked at my little team with hands on hearts, just as we practiced. I looked at the amputees behind them. I thought, ‘this is why those men and women do it! This is why they sacrifice themselves: for the freedom of our country, and for the future of these kids.’ How appropriate for us to cheer them on in a game they love–American football.”

Win or lose, you always have your team’s back. OK, so most teams also share this sentiment. But, it’s worth noting that cheerleaders have their school’s teams back, AND their squad’s back. They say blood is thicker than water, but we’d argue that glitter is also thicker than water.

“They had us cheer right down on the 50-yard line, steps away from the edge of the field. As a play would end, the players would run by and give our little cheerleaders fist bumps and high fives, and tell them they were doing a good job,” Ward shared.

When you’re on the flip side, and get to feel the pride of others cheering you on, that’s worth every minute of blood, sweat, and tears.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee football team is composed of American men and women who lost a limb while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. More than 400 NFL stars and celebrities have participated in WWAFT vs. NFL alumni games in the past. This year, Omni Cheer was proud to have been able to help support the cheerleaders of Garden Oaks Montessori support this cause.

For more information about Wounded Warriors, visit wwaft.org.