Lankford: Behind the Scences Cheerleading.

You see her on the sidelines on Friday nights, always with a smile on her face. You know her as a Paoli High School Varsity cheerleader but you may not realize all she does behind the scenes.

For seven years now Chelsey Lankford has been cheering for the school and has always competitive. Lankford wanted to cheer ever since she was little, when she cheered on the sidelines at her brother’s basketball games.

From practices, to competitive cheer, to working at Tumble Time; cheer takes up around 21 hours most weeks and when she has competition, she spends all of her Saturday cheering.

“Working and practice are hard things to balance, from knowing when it is time to coach to knowing when to keep my mouth shut,” said Lankford.

Cheering for school and competitive cheer are two different things. Although they both require patience and understanding, the skills, the environment, and the whole nine yards are completely different.

While coaching at Tumble Time, Lankford teaches many different age groups and a gymnastics class for students with special needs. Lankford says that working with the special needs group goes beyond teaching them only cheer or any skill.

“We work on day-to-day behavior the entire time, right from wrong, and what’s good and what’s bad. We play games with them, jump on the trampoline, and we tumble on good days,” said Lankford.

In the future, Lankford does not plan on continuing cheering after high school. Instead, she plans on pursuing a career in nursing.

Lankford’s dream, however, is to have a place of her own to coach cheer and maybe even dance.

Lankford has some practical advice to anyone who wants to be a cheerleader.

“Be able to take the heat. Cheer has such a bad name which I will never understand but you’re supposed have fun. So be a cheerleader, and be a good one.”


Story by Cait Cornwell