Coco Warner ReportingYears of preparation, and in some cases, thousands of dollars lead to the few minutes a teenager will spend in front of a panel of judges all to make their cheerleading squad. You can bet it's stressful!
If cheerleading is like a business, consider the tryout process "getting hired." But what happens when some kids fail to get their "dream job”?
Combine the athleticism of a gymnastic meet, the drama of an opening night, the politics of a presidential race and you'll start to get a vague feel for cheer tryouts.
Kim Cunningham, Northridge Cheer Co-Advisor: "We're both really sensitive people and any kind of audition or anything-- you hate hurting feelings and you know you like, you feel like you destroy a life."
What a difference a few weeks can make, Northridge High School has officially survived cheerleading tryouts.
Jill Griffeth: "Feeling a lot better now that the tryouts are over-- that's always the worst part, feelings and parents and all that kind of fun stuff."
Tryouts can be a potential minefield. Many schools bring in outside judges to avoid what's called "disappointment lawsuits"--a course some families take when their child fails to make a team.
Jill Griffeth: "A lot of the parents this year have been really good about it. They called and they just wanted to know what things their daughter could work on for next year and those kind of calls we don't mind."
This year there are 26 members on the Northridge cheerleading squad-- that's an increase of two from last year and coaches say that's due to the amount of talent. Talent like newcomer Amanda Goodrich who finally made cheer after failing to on the junior high level.
Amanda Goodrich: "It makes you a harder worker, and then making it here makes you feel better about yourself."
Gym owner Clay Reeves coaches several girls who tried out for cheer, including her own daughter.
Clay Reeves, Clay's Tumbling and Cheer: "When she told me she had made it, i was like whoosh."
But what advice does she have for the kids who didn't?
Clay Reeves: "If they don't make it this year, learn from that experience, make it a positive and move on and start now for next year."
Lori Parker's daughter earned a spot on the Layton High School squad, but she has some advice for cheerleading parents.
Lori Parker, Cheer Parent: "Try not to get too emotional which is really hard and just try to go, ‘Well what are the options if it doesn't work out the way you want it to?’ You know, what else are we going to have lined up that you want to do for the coming year."
And if they do want to try again, according to coaches the most important thing they can work to improve is their tumbling skills.