For the last four years, senior cheerleader Ali Wright has been the face of UM’s coed cheerleading team. Our Chris Hamilton recently sat down with UM’s own “cheerily beloved.”
The Hurricane: What made you want to come and cheer for UM?
Ali Wright: I knew I really wanted to cheer in college. When I came down to visit the school, tryouts were going on. I said I might as well try out while I’m here, and I ended up making it.
TH: Is cheerleading a sport?
AW: Some cheerleaders get really touchy on this subject but it doesn’t really bother me. Definitely yes, if you are competing. But even though we don’t compete, we are out there just doing what we love to do.
TH: What is your favorite cheer?
AW: Any cheer that the crowd will yell along with [laughs]. I like to do, “push it, shove it, score!” because the crowd thinks it’s fun.
TH: What is the worst part of being a cheerleader?
AW: When you’re standing in front of crowd of people who are just sitting there and staring at you. We’re not just down there cheering to hear ourselves yell.
TH: ‘Canes games are notorious for having celebrities stop by. Have you ever met anyone famous while on the sidelines?
AW: In one game we were in the middle of the “De-fense…De-fense” cheer and Jay-Z stopped right where I was standing. He started dancing and going along with the cheer. It was super cool.
TH: What happened in the Field Goal Challenge versus Ohio State at halftime of the Fiesta Bowl?
AW: OK, the Fiesta Bowl people decided they wanted to have two cheerleaders who “looked more Miami.” Since all the Ohio State people looked the same, they got to use their best two kickers and we had to use the ones they chose for us.
TH: Do you actually get to watch the games while you’re cheering?
AW: We have to! [laughs]If a ball is dropped or intercepted, I don’t want to go throw up a stunt and be going crazy.
TH: What was it like cheering your final football game at the Orange Bowl?
AW: It was super hard. The Orange Bowl is such a great place and there is so much emotion. I just stayed on the field and cried.
TH: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment while cheering?
AW: Last year at Virginia Tech we had to switch from our outfits to our warm-ups because it was so cold. I started to fall during one stunt and when my partner went to catch me all he got was my pants. I landed on my head, with my rear end in the air facing the entire crowd. For anyone else it was hysterical, but for me it was so embarrassing.
TH: What is one sport that doesn’t have cheerleaders that should?
AW: Soccer. It’s kind of like football. Its on a field, you’re going from end to end, it’s very fast paced. I don’t know where you would stick us, though.
TH: What do you think cheerleading for four years has given you?
AW: The best memories of my whole life. These four years have been unbelievable and I completely give that to cheering.
Cheerleading tryouts for the 2005-2006 squads continue this Thursday and Friday at the Hecht Athletic Center.
Chris Hamilton can be reached at email@example.com