Beyond the Sidelines: When Hardwork & Determination Pay Off.


Tell us your cheer story...
My name is Allison Knodle. I am 13 years old and I have been cheering for 2 ½ years. When I started cheering, I was in the first grade and it was just an after school thing that I did once a week. Fast forward to 6th grade when I saw a girl that I knew selling t-shirts at Future Cougar Night (I attend Strack Intermediate and the cougars are our mascot). The girl's name was Avery Collazo and I met her at summer camp the year before. She told me that she was there for cheer. I thought, if Avery , who is pretty much a role model to me, can do it, why can’t I? So that’s when I started cheering again. 

Initially I attended classes at a competitive all-star gym for a few months, but they weren't really for me. Then, I found Sideline and never left! That was January of 2013, my 6th grade year. When tryouts came around, all of my friends made the team, literally! However, I did not and was shocked. So many people quit cheer after they didn’t make their teams, but I decided that I wasn’t going to be one of them. I started doing off campus P.E. at Sideline Spirit, training a minimum of 5 ½ a week. Sometimes I just stayed for other classes because I didn’t want to leave. I kind of lived there. 

Despite how often I was training, I still panicked about tryouts. I got my back handspring January 16, 2014 - 11 days before my set goal which really made me think I had a chance this year. But shortly after, my wrists began hurting, so I got wrist braces- the worst thing I’ve ever done. The pain grew worse and worse and as tryouts neared, I knew that I would have to wear my braces at tryouts. Everyday tryouts drew closer, I became more and more nervous.  

By Wednesday, the week of tryouts, I had the material memorized and on point. That particular day, all tryout candidates were to participate in a mock tryout in which we would be required to perform the tumbling pass that they planned to throw at tryouts. My heart raced as I waited in the tumbling line. I threw my pass and fell on my knees - but no wrist pain. I threw it again, and then one more time and landed it perfectly. When I walked into my solo tryout on Friday (I went last in my grade) I knew that my hard work would pay off.

At 9 o’clock on the dot, I saw my name on the list of 8th grade Strack cheerleaders. Ever since then, I’ve been so proud of myself for what I’ve done and what I am going to do. We had cheer camp in August, which I couldn’t have been more excited about, and I was captain for the 2nd football game. So, it’s going pretty well with cheer, and everything is going to be ok… which life has already proved to me. 

How did you prepare for cheer tryouts?
I took 5-6 classes a week at Sideline for a year including a tryout prep class called Spirit Bootcamp. I also participated in First 15 and Operation Tryout - tryout prep events at Sideline. 

What is your favorite aspect of cheerleading?
The dancing and facials! I get to look silly with an excuse :)

What is your most embarrassing cheer blooper? 
At our first game this year, I was so nervous that I kept forgetting the motions and how many times we do a cheer and I was really embarrassed. 

Describe what it means to be a cheerleader.  
We are a team. We are role models for younger students and we cheer on teams at sports events as well as serve our community.

How has cheer shaped you as a person? 
Cheer has taught me how to work harder than I have ever imagined to get where I want to be. I have also learned that there is no limit to what you can achieve.