“Cheer” brings drama to the documentary world

Cheer brings drama to the documentary world

Sophia Pendergast, Staff Reporter

If you have checked Netflix recently, you likely noticed the appearance of the second season of “Cheer,” the fan-favorite documentary series following the Navarro College cheer team in Corsicana, Texas. 

Season one of “Cheer” first appeared in January 2020. It followed the team of athletes as they trained for the annual National Cheerleading Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. The climatic first season followed struggling students, difficult practices, and uplifting wins. However, the second season brought a whole new round of drama. 

In season two of “Cheer,” athletes faced many more challenges. Alongside the traditional student struggles, they also had to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing activities to a screeching halt. Team bonds were challenged as some athletes faced serious criminal charges, and others left without reason. 

The documentary portrayed Navarro as a very unenjoyable team to be on. In every episode, someone had a full on breakdown about how they were unable to achieve their stunts, or some other skill related to the routine being practiced.  Additionally, the fame gained from the previous season appeared to have gotten to the heads of some of the team members. Instead of focusing on the sport, they focused on the fame, and how many Instagram followers they earned. The head coach, Monica Aldama, also added to the dramatics of the team. She utilized her fame to participate in other ventures, including “Dancing With The Stars.” When Aldama returned to an untrained team, she seemed to use the stress as a way to excuse being disrespectful to her athletes, and act like the lack of skills was their fault, not that of an absentee coach. Adding to the drama, the cheerleaders also had rivalries within the team. Oftentimes, they would talk behind the backs of others, and gave the appearance that they were enemies instead of family. Both the behaviors of Aldama and the athletes made for an unenjoyable viewing experience, and left a bad taste in the mouth. 

Although “Cheer” mainly focuses on the Navarro cheer team, season two introduced their rivals, Trinity Valley Community College. The addition of this team alone made the second season of “Cheer” worth watching. Unlike the Navarro team, Trinity Valley’s cheerleaders behaved as a team should. They were connected, dedicated, and willing to put in the work. Instead of tears, the Trinity Valley team pushed themselves to the limits until they were perfect. Overall, their athletes were more charismatic, and seemed to be happier than their rivals. Additionally, the head coaches, Vontae Johnson and Khris Franklin, were much more enjoyable to watch. Instead of being disrespectful to their athletes, they lifted them up when they did well, and doled out tough love when they were slacking. Both Johnson and Franklin seemed to value their team, and wanted the athletes to succeed for themselves, not for fame. 

“Cheer” was an incredibly well-produced documentary. It featured a wide variety of interviews, and gave an inside look into the world of competitive cheerleading. Viewers will feel as if they are actually part of the team. The final two episodes, featuring the Daytona Beach competition, were by far the best. Throughout the entire season, you also witnessed inspiring backstories as the cheerleaders spoke about how cheerleading got them through difficult times. 

Although “Cheer” is full of drama and emotions, it’s still worth watching. If you choose to watch both seasons, you will likely find yourself cheering for the opposition, instead of the main Navarro team, leading to a more suspenseful finale as you wait to hear who won the competition. 

“Cheer” is available to watch on Netflix. 

If you are looking to spice up your watchlist, and want to learn something while watching, don’t hesitate to play “Cheer.” Your eyes will be opened to the world of challenges and success that are often looked over in this sport.