Freeform’s new show ‘Cheer Squad’ is ready to take you inside the world of competitive cheerleading. HollywoodLife.com spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Coach Ali Moffatt about what people are going to learn from the show, breaking down stereotypes, and proving — once and for all — that cheerleading is a real sport.
What do you think people are going to learn from Cheer Squad?
I think they’re going to learn about the journey that the sport can teach you. It really follows the ups and the downs, the good and the bad of what a season is all about. It relies on some of our core values which are teamwork, sisterhood and supporting each other even when times are tough. No, it’s not perfect and it’s not easy. It’s a hard sport. They train so hard. I think people will be amazed at what they accomplish and what they do. I think it will help break down some of the stereotypes that exist with competitive cheerleading. People think it’s all about pom poms and cheering for a team. There’s a very different branch of cheerleading that’s called all-star cheerleading that’s just exploded internationally. It’s just this whole other world and people will be amazed and inspired by what the girls do.
Did the cameras being around the squad impact the team at all?
I would say there a bit of an adjustment period. It took some time for everyone to understand what we did and for us to understand their job and what they do. It took some time to get on the same page and then the girls just got so good at being them and coming to practice to work hard. You get to see exactly what it’s like to be a Great White Shark. We didn’t change anything. We just did us. That was kind of our core belief going into it and that’s what we did throughout the filming. I think that’s why we’re so proud of what the final product is because it’s just so true to who we are as a team, and who the girls are, and who I am as a coach.
When does the show start?
The show starts at Worlds 2015 and completes at Worlds 2016. It’s a full calendar year. It covers a whole season. It’s going to be so amazing for people to see what our world is all about. It is exhilarating. It’s fun. It’s crazy. It’s so competitive. The girls just train so hard.
What’s the biggest misconception about cheerleading?
I don’t think people realize how competitive the sport is. It really is a sport is unto itself. We don’t cheer for teams. We cheer for ourselves. We cheer for the two and a half minute routine that we put out on the floor. The routines are so jam-packed. There’s not a second of downtime. I think the biggest stereotype would be, “What team do you cheer for?” At the end of the day, these girls cheer for themselves and they cheer for their own team.
With the Olympics having just ended, what do you say to people who dont think cheerleading is a real sport?
I wish they would take some time and get to know what we’re doing. It really has evolved. It’s time for viewpoints to evolve as well. It’s an education thing. They don’t fully understand what we do. If you look through the check boxes of what it means to be a sport and the definition of a sport, we obviously exceed and check off every single category. These girls are athletes. They train just as hard as other athletes and they deserve some recognition.
Will the show follow the girls outside of practice and competition?
There’s a good balance. It obviously follows the team and the journey the team is on through the season. It comes to lots of competitions with us, it comes with us through tryouts, through choreography, preparing for competitions. Probably one of my favorite parts is that the show lets you into some of these girls’ lives. You really get to see how close the girls are. This is their extended family.
HollywoodLifers, will you be watching Cheer Squad? Do you think cheerleading is a real sport? Let us know!