Field to Floor

Field to Floor

Photo/Cynthia Hutsell

The competetive cheer squad poses outside of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports athletic complex after placing 7th in

In school, sideline cheerleaders are known for bringing hype to the games and cheering on the crowd. What people don’t see is the thrill behind competition. 

Sideline cheer influences the school spirit throughout the game, the girls keep the crowd involved and alive. It lasts from summer practices to the last football game of the year. 

Photo/@dcevertsen Instagram
Senior Sophia farmer is performing a cheer on the top of a pyramid at a game against Doctor Phillips High School on september 22. Doctor Phillips went on to win 21-3

While the girls represent school spirit and pride, there are also some expectations. The sideline girls have strict rules they must follow while being on the team, such as not being allowed to wear the uniform you wear to cheer in to school and having to have your bow in either half up-half down or in a ponytail. The rules are stricter because if the girls were to do anything against policy in uniform, it looks bad for the program.

“I would say the stress level of competition because I get really nervous for competitions here. I feel like there’s more writing on it but sideline is more of a fun thing I can do with my team,” sophomore Chapel Herron said. For many cheerleaders sideline is more of something girls just do for fun. Its more of something they do because they enjoy, not to be competitive.

Another obvious difference is the uniform. Since sideline cheer is run by schools, the uniforms are usually much more conservative. The competition uniforms for teams like all-star are usually much more revealing and glammed up.

In competitive cheerleading, there is more of a focus on trust and team building, “Competition is more structured than sideline and a lot more intense. For comp it’s not toxic but it feels like there’s no room for air,” says 11th grader Ryland Pierotti. The stress level for competition is much higher than when cheering on the sideline. 

 As we know, sideline cheer is not a competition, but competitive cheer is. When cheering competitively, each performance is scored. The girls are scored out of 100, split into three sections. These sections are building skills, tumbling skills, and overall routine. The scoring is 60% technique, creativity and overall composition is 26.67%, and building and tumbling difficulty is 13.33% of the score. 

There are also deductions when it comes to scoring. Some things that could deduct from the score are athlete falls and building falls. Athlete falls occur from tumbling or jumps and take away 0.25 points. Building falls subtract 0.75 point and Major Building Falls, which is a top girl or athlete hitting the floor from a stunt, pyramid or toss, takes away 1.25 points.

When performing for competitions, each routine lasts about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. There are three rounds of competitions that the girls have to perform, each one being scored.

“We’re here to enhance the football game and it’s less of a performance for us,” junior Madi Chapkis said. 

Another difference is that sideline cheer is a focal point for football games while comp is an entire performance. “In competition it’s all eyes on you while for sidelines, you’re literally on the sidelines,” Chapkis said.

Despite their differences, both competitive and sideline cheer offer unique challenges that make them both impressive. Whether cheerleaders are encouraging athletes of a different sport, or competing against other cheerleaders, they always add some electricity to the atmosphere.

Bring the Barrel Back

Bring the Barrel Back

This season will mark the 72nd installment of Central Florida’s most storied rivalry. The feud began in 1952 when Orlando High School was broken up into Orlando North and Orlando South, both of which would become Edgewater High School and Boone High School. The winner of the football game takes home the Spirit Barrel and holds it until next year’s game. Giving Orlando’s favorite high school football game its name, The Battle of the Barrel.

Every high school has some kind of competitive rivalry, the Jones High School and Evans High School has stayed intense for years but none compare to the heated historical relationship between the Braves and the Eagles. “It (the rivalry) is significant because of the rich tradition and history of both schools and football programs. We respect them while they respect us and that usually makes for a great game,” Head Coach Andrew Johnson said. 

“We always have a chance”

At the game, the two schools are separated due to the amount of potential violence going on between players and students. In 2014, the rivalry reached its climax when the totem pole in the courtyard was vandalized by students who were believed to attend Edgewater. The wings, beaks, and noses of the totem pole were hacked off, eggs were thrown at nearby classrooms, and the senior parking lot was vandalized with lewd comments written in red spray paint according to the police and school district.

Edgewater also claimed that students from Boone High School vandalized their campus as well, including; TP-ing their campus and digging up the Eagle head in the middle of their football field. Despite the lingering challenge in the minds of the players that year, the Braves persevered without their cherished totem pole standing tall and emerged victorious with a remarkable 24-14 triumph.

“We have a good idea what Edgewater is trying to do on offense and defense, but more importantly we know they have really good players that are hard to contain on and off the field,” Johnson said.

Both teams are getting stronger and learning new plays, and it is up to the coaches and players to know their classic moves. “Playing at home will definitely give us more of an advantage because we practice and play on our field,” sophomore linebacker Noah Maddox said.

Though both teams work on constructing their offense and defense, Edgewater leads the Battle of the Barrel 48-20. The last time the Braves possessed the barrel was 2017. However, the Brave community and parents have high hopes that Boone will soon prevail.

“We will always have a chance to beat them. The games are tightly played and it usually comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes,” Johnson said.

Grades for Games

Grades for Games

The sound of a keyboard or toggles hitting a controller are not normally athletic sounds, but as we near the end of 2023, those sounds reflect a quickly rising sport. In a seemingly unchanging culture it’s always news when a change is made, let alone a new sport is recognized. Esports, in this case, has been newly introduced into the athletic community.

Electronic Sports are competitions held on video game platforms. Esport athletes range from elementary level students to paid video game athletes. In recent months Esports has been named an official class to be introduced next school year. The class will be counted as a sports credit, expanding the boundaries of who is considered an athlete. While critics think gaming abandons the need of physical prowess, that may not be the case.

“I believe athletes are people who use their physical abilities to get an objective or goal done as well as use their brains,” sophomore Steven Mercedes said; “pro gamers can be considered athletes because they use their strategic thinking to achieve their goal to win, but also they are using their physical skills to use the controller and hit the right buttons.”

Until recently, gaming existed as strictly a hobby, rarely mentioned in the same breath as volleyball or baseball. The key difference is the deviation in skill. While most sports have a large mental aspect, competitions are often won and lost based on who poses the more athletic squad. On the other hand, gaming is proving to be almost mainly mental, eliminating natural athleticism, evening the playing field. According to Old School Gamers, the average IQ of a top ranked league of legends player is between 115 and 120 putting them in the top 15% of the population.

Sophomore Jake Gonzalez said, “[ESports] can bring people together that, aren’t huge athletes that are six foot three, 150 pounds, it really helps bring together a good community.”

 This truth is reflected in the MVPs of the esports world. Unlike the Lebron James’ and Tom Bradys of the world, the greatest gamers in the world often represent the average athletes of America.

“This opens the door for gamers in terms of athletes because, [athletes] are people that are physically athletic and a specimens of human expression, but human expression is beyond the body, and that’s where ESports comes in. Because you get the ability to express competitive nature and strategy and focus and skills and how to hone that as a team. Or if it’s a singular game like solo game, then you hone it as a singular person, but you’re expressing competitiveness without actually needing to be a physical specimen,” future ESports teacher James Elswick said.

It has been nearly 70 years since the first video game has been unveiled to the public. While the rise of Esports has been blatant and loud, it has been coming along for decades. From Pac-Man, to Fortnite, video games have long been apart of  current society. However with the rise of Esports, video games are stepping into a new light, as a member of the sports community.

“Esports are challenging because they have a lot of time and effort they have to put into their game, spending hours practicing for a tournament, or a match,” sophomore Jalen Cruz said.

Students plan to look towards ESports next year to harness their competitive edge, and like all young athletes they will do so with big dreams. 

Like other sports athletes have the opportunity to compete professionally, not as an occupation but as a career,  “I would say if you consider archery or shooting or anything accurate with fine motor skills, a sport then you would have to consider it ESports is sport because the fine motor skills and the endurance level for what they do is very similar to archery and they endurance would also be similar to like Formula 1 long sitting with the extended periods of focus,” Elswick said. 

According to HeadphonesAddict the average professional Esport athlete makes $314,000 per year. Those are eye catching numbers for young video game enthusiasts across the country, thus the introduction of an official course across Orange County high schools.

According to Popular Mechanics the US military has been using gaming controllers for decades. BBC has reported that the design of gaming controllers makes it easier for surgeons to move through a patients virtual anatomy. Using their skills young gaming athletes can open new doors in fields beyond esports.

What will start with the simple introduction of a new sport credit class may lead to the expansion of sports communities. With the rise of ESports comes new opportunities for young gamers. ESports is not only expanding the field of sports but opening up new ways to improve society. Kids that game will have the chance to become pro athletes, surgeons, military officers, and pursue other notable careers.