These photos of Seattle youth cheer squads are exactly what you need right now

A Mini Central District Panther Cheerleader shows some spirit during the Cheer Competition. (Photo by Susan Fried)
A Mini Central District Panther Cheerleader shows some spirit during the Cheer Competition. (Photo by Susan Fried)

Cheerleading is often considered a kind of side show to the big event of football. But to the local girls and young women who participate, it’s a sport in its own right, and a way to express themselves.

On Saturday, over a hundred cheerleaders, ages four to 14, joined a competition of the Greater Seattle Football and Cheerleading association (GSYFC) down at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines.

“Without cheer there is no football.” Kyle Wilson, the commissioner of GSYFC said during the competition.

Aniyah 8 (center) and her teammates on the Kent Cobras perform an X jump.
Aniyah 8 (center) and her teammates on the Kent Cobras perform an X jump.

In a display of team spirit and athleticism four teams competed in front of a raucous audience of football players, family and friends. Seven other teams, including five mini teams of younger girls, also performed but didn’t compete.

But the crowd did! Fans vied to see who could show the most spirit by yelling their team’s name from the bleachers.

CD Panther Cheer team fans encourage their team. (Photo by Susan Fried)
CD Panther Cheer team fans encourage their team. (Photo by Susan Fried)

The cheerleading squads from big to small performed stunts and jumps, including tuck jumps, x jumps, and the elevator, a skill that requires three girls to lift a fourth girl into a standing position.

“I wish all kids participated in something like this, because we are teaching our girls how to work with others as a team. Also they learn discipline, how to respect your peers and your leaders and how to be positive even in a negative situation,” said PAC Charger Coach Brittney Walker.

“And most importantly, we want every girl to be confident and love herself for who she is.”

Mini Renton Ranger cheerleader Telecia, 3 shows some spirit during the GSYF&C Cheer Competition. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Mini Renton Ranger cheerleader Telecia, 3 shows some spirit during the GSYF&C Cheer Competition. (Photo by Susan Fried)

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The Mini Renton Rangers Cheerleaders perform "the elevator" one of the more difficult stunts in cheerleading. (Photo by Susan Fried)
The Mini Renton Rangers Cheerleaders perform “the elevator” one of the more difficult stunts in cheerleading. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Members of the CD Panthers Cheer Squad stand and raise fists during the national anthem. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Members of the CD Panthers Cheer Squad stand and raise fists during the national anthem. (Photo by Susan Fried)

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The Renton Rangers Cheerleading team poses with their trophies after becoming the 2016 Greater Seattle Cheer Overall Champions. (Photo by Susan Fried)
The Renton Rangers Cheerleading team poses with their trophies after becoming the 2016 Greater Seattle Cheer Overall Champions. (Photo by Susan Fried)
A little boy helps pick up pompoms after the Renton Rangers competition-winning performance. (Photo by Susan Fried)
A little boy helps pick up pompoms after the Renton Rangers competition-winning performance. (Photo by Susan Fried)
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