Stepping Up the Fun Aspect

Varsity+Drill+Team+continued+to+cheer+along+side+Marching+Band+and+Varsity+Cheer+at+a+soccer+game.+

Ava Bearskin

Varsity Drill Team continued to cheer along side Marching Band and Varsity Cheer at a soccer game.

Rebecca Simpkins, Social Media Editor

“We didn’t and won’t get that same experience this season,” Amaris Kirksey, senior, says about her last year on Varsity Drill Team.

Similar to other sports, Varsity Drill Team has had to deal with the constant change and uncertainty the pandemic has brought, from remote practices to practice time being reduced by about five hours per week. Yet, they have persevered.

Varsity Drill Team has missed out on a lot this year, from the bonding to missing out events. Two seniors share on the team their favorite part of drill team has been. The first-year girls on Varsity Drill Team won’t get the same experience as the seniors did in previous years, but the seniors talk about their favorite memories on VDT. Niya Shockley talks about the joy of winning the competition “last season when we went to competitions, we ended up winning first place one hip hop and pom. It was special because when we ended up finishing the dance some of the girls were crying of joy because it felt so good.” The first year girls on VDT will hopefully be able to experience the competition, the bonding, camps, and get the full experience of the Varsity Drill Team next year.

Amaris’s favorite part of the Drill Team was the big events, “Our times at UDA camp and nationals. We didn’t and won’t get that same experience this season but it’s so much fun to be around your team that you cry, bleed, laugh and sweat for in a different environment to showcase that love and talent for each other in front of people from different parts of the nation or state.
And all the game nights at camp or night outs exploring at nationals add to memorable experience, but of course walking off a stage after killing a performance and shocking the crowd is an amazing feeling to, like, “I just did that, no WE just did that, and it was amazing!” This year both State, Nationals, and competition is virtual. The experience is completely different, but following St. Louis guidelines practices are still socially distanced in-person, so some memories can still be made.

Normal Varsity Drill Team has a senior night during the football season, but they don’t have much details because of the unpredictableness of COVID. Niya and Amaris Amaris Kirksey, a few of the seniors on the team, gave some advice for underclassmen and incoming freshmen. Niya said, “I would say just be yourself and try your best. Make sure to know your strength. Take your time and if you need help try asking questions. Underclassmen make sure that you are pushing not only for yourself but for everyone.” She then continued to talk about, like many teams or clubs at the high school is like a family. “If you make the team that girls that you are on the team with are going to be your family.”

Though VDT has had to miss out on big parts of their season, Katie Ridings still looks on the bright side, “My favorite thing that has happened during the season so far is our very first practice we had in person. I liked it because it was exciting to be able to talk to everyone and have some team bonding time.” They didn’t have their first in-person practice until we were halfway through the first semester.

Despite the pandemic, VDT has still been able to participate in competition virtually this year. In a normal year competition they would arrive at competition, get ready there, then compete live in front of the judges, whereas they now the team films themselves performing a month before the competition would normally start and get a result back the week that the competition normally starts. State and nationals will be virtual this year and will happen similar to the competitions. With less time for practicing, time at competitions, and their normal camp Katie Ridings says that, “This camp provides our team a lot of bonding that we have not got, and allows the new girls a chance to see what it is like being on varsity.”

Amaris Kirksey talks about making sure you use your time for yourself, not to please others she says, “Advice I would give is have fun. Don’t let the pressure of playing a Varsity or high school sport get to you. You’re playing on this team for this sport for a reason, to have fun and enjoy yourself. It’s a release for you and sometimes we can forget that and just get caught going through the motions. Just always remember the why.” As the first semester comes to a close, next year there will be more oppuritnes to get involved with clubs and sports. Though things are happening differently this year with COVID, students can still experience some of the fun with clubs and teams. Check out their Instagram for updates on the season.