Typically, tumbling classes and cheerleading teams are depicted as the pursuit of children and teenagers, something rarely continued after an athlete graduates high school or college. But while competitive cheerleading and high school football games remain the most popular face of the sport, other groups and organizations prove that this activity can remain a lifelong venture of charity, goodwill and teamwork. Take Cheer Seattle, for example, an adult cheerleading team that considers itself the supporters of their city and its most deserving.
Every Tuesday night, this group of veterans, doctors, real estate and other everyday citzens gathers in a racquetball court at Seattle University. Here, they learn tumbling instructions and practice lifts under the supervision of their cheerleading coach, Sara Toogood. When they aren’t practicing, however, Cheer Seattle raises money for non-profit organizations and charities.
Believe it or not, this mission is part of a growing trend across the United States: beginning in San Francisco’s LGBT community, adult cheerleading teams are becoming increasingly popular. But few are as inspiring as Cheer Seattle, which specifically seeks to raise awareness and funds for people living with disabilities and life-challenging conditions. This is a mission close to home for many of the team’s members: for example, one, Kayla Preston, is a former Seattle University cheerleader who had one of her lungs removed after twice defeating cancer.
One of the group’s first events took place at the annual Fight for Life Stair Climb at Rainier Tower, which benefits the American Lung Association. There, Cheer Seattle filled the stairwells to support fundraisers on their journey to the top. With such efforts, it is no surprise the team considers itself Seattle’s unofficial cheerleading squad and plans to continue encouraging the city’s various charitable organizations to keep fighting for change. Never forget, those tumbling classes and long practices can lead to a lifetime of good!