This essay was written by Hunter Griffis, FCS Class of 2013, in honor of his sister Haley and her fellow varsity cheerleaders. They are now finalists for the prestigious Spirit of Sportmanship Award to be awarded this May.

Consider the importance of the human spine, informally known as the backbone. Not only is this structure composed of individual bones that work together in synchronization, but it is the support for the most important part of the human body; the brain. Without the backbone, the rest of the body would be incapable of working at peak proficiency. Yes, it is possible to live without a functioning backbone, but the human body does not preform to the best of its ability unless its team, composed of separate individual pieces, is working together to form a solidified support system.

A synchronized support team is exactly what the young ladies of the Fredericksburg Christian School varsity cheer squad strive to be.

Often neglected for the role they play in the success of high school sports teams, cheerleaders are rarely recognized for all that they contribute to the teams they cheer on.

The young women at Fredericksburg Christian face this stigma head-strong with humble hearts of servitude. They know that the teams they cheer on, whether it be the state champion football team or a conference leading basketball program, are at the head of the school; a priority to the fans.

What many people do not understand is that the team at the head of the athletic program has a backbone that supports them through every situation they face; win or lose. Their backbone stands on the sidelines sporting Fredericksburg Christian’s green and white sprit, losing their voice because “Go Eagles” is uttered over one-hundred times during the course of a game.

The ladies of the FCS cheer squad do not limit their support to the Friday night lights; they also outsource their backbone to the community. During the 2018- 2019 school year alone, these upstanding young adults participated in service events such as: Wreaths Across America, Food Bank drives, cheering and creating positivity posters at the Special Olympics, gathering and shipping supplies to aid in hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, hosting elementary school cheer clinics, and supporting countless families at the Light the Night event held by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This list is ever-growing, but their kind hearts do not stop with their love for community service. The kindness of these ladies extends into their sportsmanship as well.

Cheer camps and competitions are places where teams compete against one another. The term competition is redefined by the sportsmanship of these ladies, a character quality that does not go unnoticed. They solidified their sportsmanship as they took time away from practicing to help other competing squads learn the expected material. By helping their opponents, these ladies have redefined sportsmanship. Their effort made them the proud recipients of the leadership award and Top Banana award at UCA camp.

It is through these examples of leadership, humble servitude to the community, and sportsmanship that the ladies of the Fredericksburg Christian School varsity cheer team deserve to be recognized.