As the countdown to basketball season gets closer to Nov. 11, the “Golden Girls” on the cheer team at California Baptist University are hard at work preparing to encourage the CBU basketball teams and to excite the crowd.
“People come and they want to have a great time. They are not there just to watch basketball,” said Tami Fleming, cheerleading head coach. “They want to enjoy the experience and cheer adds to the whole experience.”
Being a “Golden Girl” at CBU brings a high level of responsibility because unlike most sports, where the game starts as soon as the whistle blows, cheer begins before the team even steps onto the court.
“During pregame, when people are just finding their seats and hanging out, we’re still working,” Fleming said. “We’re trying to get people in the door and engaged before the game even starts.”
Performing during halftime at the basketball games is one of cheer’s biggest responsibilities.
“It’s a great way to get the crowd involved. It means that people stay in their seats and they aren’t just racing off to get on their phones or run off to the snack bar real quick. It just keeps the energy level high,” Fleming said.
Being able to interact with fans is one of the cheer team’s favorite aspects of what they do.
“I’m excited about meeting the fans. I like being very personable,” said Sophia Solis, sophomore biology major and backspot. “Just knowing the fans that come, so it’s not just a bunch of blank faces in the crowd – amazing.”
The “Golden Girls” are a vital feature of basketball games because they can affect how the players on the court perform.
“We know that when the crowd is on their feet, cheering loud and having a great time, the team is usually playing better,” Fleming said.
This season, history will be made as it will be the first time the CBU cheer team will perform in the new Events Center.
“There are going to be more people and the environment is going to be completely different,” Solis said. “We are also going to be doing more difficult stunts.”
Because of a high amount of incoming freshman on the cheer team, adjustments have had to be made in stunts and routines, but the Lancers said it resulted in new friendships.
“Getting used to having new stunt groups and new people have been challenging, but it’s early in the season and we are already a really cohesive team,” said Emily Massey, freshman pre-nursing major and back.
The “Golden Girls” will make their first game appearance when Lancers basketball faces off against Holy Names University Nov 11.