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Vikings put the emphasis on ‘leader’
POULSBO — They’re the most energetic and hard working “ball of glue” around. A little quirky, too.
To hone in on unity and to literally “stick” together as a team, the 13 members of the North Kitsap Vikings cheer squad bond like a bottle of Elmer’s, glomming onto the metaphor: “ball of glue.”
“We stick together as a team and we can’t separate because glue doesn’t separate,” explained junior Lindsey Browning, who loves watching the football games, especially if she can watch up close. “We don’t leave anyone behind, and no one feels left out. It shows unity. We do team bonding. If someone is having a bad day we get it out and powwow before practice.”
Belief in the ball of glue is just one of the many ways the Viking cheerleaders show they’re far more than glamour and glitter on game nights.
It’s their efforts and servant-hood outside of games that truly makes them “leaders,” and which hammers a stake in the heart of any cheerleader stereotypes that still might linger.
Head coach Marie Moore and assistant Nicole Nicholas are stressing the leader in cheerleader, polishing the young women’s public image and amping up their community involvement.
In addition to practicing six hours a week for nine months, cheering at fall and winter sporting events, memorizing approximately 60 cheers and chants and six dances the pep leaders complete a plethora of behind-the-scenes selfless acts.
Nowadays the Vikings cheer squad is much more visible at games and around the town, greeting spectators as they walk in, handing out programs, chatting with the littlest Viking fans, throwing footballs into the stands, making posters for all the teams, baking cakes, door decorating and decorating Poulsbo. They make hospitality gifts for visiting teams, “so they don’t feel like strangers,” Browning said. They’ll provide the visitors with water, cookies and even ordered two pizzas for Timberline.
“It’s good for them and it’s good for people to see, ‘Oh there’s these high school girls helping out,’” Moore said.
“Cheerleading is not all about dancing and kicking,” Nicholas added.
Moore and Nicholas said the girls go “crazy with planning.”
To get all the Viking student body and sports teams in the spirit of homecoming the cheer squad made a cake and posters for each of the teams, they decorated the doors of all the football players Thursday evening before the homecoming game against the Bremerton Knights, as well as the locker rooms.
They spend their Saturdays making the posters.
“It takes a lot more work than people think,” said junior Carson Smallbeck. “Being a cheerleader means to lead the other students to have just as much pride in our school. It’s a way to help our students out and raise school spirit.”
They’re starting to get a fan base too.
During some games the cheerleaders throw “Viking” T-shirts into the crowd. Nicholas shared a story about a Kingston Middle student who really wanted a T-shirt, but didn’t catch one. Instead he got something better.
The cheerleaders all signed a shirt and gave it to him.
Browning defined her Friday night job as “keeping the crowd involved and our boys’ spirits up.”
It’s a task at which these young women are experts. During a July cheer camp at Central Washington University, “spirit sticks” were handed out to the most spirited squads and the Vikings were recipients four out of five days.
And they’re strong too.
Every time the Vikes score on the gridiron the cheerleaders drop down and bust out a round of pushups, reflecting the number on the score board.
“So on the games we score 40 points we do like 200 pushups,” Smallbeck said.