Isabella Kane, former President of the Goldsmiths Lions, says joining the team whilst studying and living at home with her parents was a great way to meet new people…
So can anyone join Goldsmiths Lions?
There are no restrictions whatsoever. We have team members who are all sizes, all heights. I went from having no experience of cheerleading when I started university to leading the team in my third year. We don’t do any auditions. But you need a lot of commitment - you have to show up and be there. It’s the ultimate team sport because you are literally throwing other people around, so you have to practice as much as possible in order to make it safe.
You were one of the flyers in the team… that sounds terrifying! What skills do you need to be good at that, other than a head for heights?
You need to have confidence and presence because you’re a performer. And you have to have a lot of nerve, because you’re going to have people catching you and throwing you, and that’s not a natural skill that humans have. You have to be able to adapt for that. Having core strength is important too. I think that when you look at a cheerleading team, you can tell who is the base, who is the back, who is the flyer. You need that kind of personality. But if you join cheer and you’re not enjoying the role you’re in, you’re not happy with it, the team can always make an adaptation and change people around.
How often do Goldsmiths Lions train?
Twice a week, for a few hours. But it’s worth keeping up with your stretching in your own time, when you get up in the morning or just ten minutes before you go to bed. A cheerleading routine is two minutes and thirty seconds long. And that feels like a long time. When you’re doing something as intense as cheer, those two minutes and thirty seconds feels like a lifetime! You really do give it your all.
Is there a social aspect to being part of the team? Have you made most of your uni friends through cheerleading?
Definitely! When I started university I was living with my parents. A lot of people go into halls and make friends that way, and a lot of the people on my course were international students who had come with friends. So cheerleading was a way for me to make friends and be social. We became really, really close as teammates. We just created this immediate bond. Because at the end of the day, they’re going to be the ones catching you!
As the former President, what else did you have to do in that role?
I became President in my third and final year - I’d definitely been working towards it. I like leadership roles. I was the one who made organisational decisions. I did a lot of admin like enrolling in student competitions, getting uniforms, getting new training kit, getting everyone to socials, organising music etc.
Now you’ve graduated, what are you looking to do next? What skills have you learnt from being the cheerleading President that might help you in future jobs?
I’m going to be working in events. Throughout my time at university I also worked with an events company that I’m now going to be working for full-time, so my past experience with organising, managing and working with large groups of people has really helped me in that way. It’s great to be able to translate the skills I’ve learned from cheerleading to my job, and that solidified the fact that I have it in me to be a leader. Cheerleading was a great and affirming experience for me. I definitely didn’t think that I was that much of a hard worker, or that I was capable of so much, but cheerleading ignited my love for something I didn’t know was there.
What advice would you give to someone who was considering joining the team this year?
Listen to your gut. Just go. Show up and be true to yourself. Smile! Talk to all of the girls. They’re the nicest bunch of people. It’ll be so rewarding and you’ll feel so proud of yourself. Don’t be scared. And if you’re thinking, I’m not good enough, I’m not a small skinny white girl with perfect skin, I don’t fit into the stereotype of what a “cheerleader” should be, there is no stereotype. You are what a cheerleader should be.
If you fancy joining the team, check out their page here.