In the plethora of new documentaries that Netflix seems to be sending out, their newest edition, Cheer, seemed to stand out in front of the others.
The show tells the story of the national champion cheer team at Navarro College. It depicts how their coach, Monica Aldama, pushes her athletes to a level that may seem unconventional to others.
To me, however, it wasn’t their story of how they worked towards their national competition but rather the stories that were attached to the athletes.
While all were filled with depressing details, they resulted in how the Navarro cheer team ultimately changed their lives.
One of the many stories was so hard to hear that I was in tears at how horrible her life had been before she went to Navarro. Her name is Morgan Simianer, and her story was one of five that the documentary told.
When she was younger, her mother left and her father remarried. Though it was unknown as to why by both Morgan and her father’s parents, Morgan suspected that her stepmother didn’t like her and her brother. The resentment became so bad that her father bought Morgan and her brother a trailer to live in by themselves. With not a lot of money, they did not live the most lavish lives.
It was not until years later, when her grandparents took her in, that she finally felt the love that she had been missing for so many years.
When Morgan made the Navarro team, Monica instantly became a mother to her. Throughout the documentary, the relationship between the two of them was something like a mother and daughter rather than an athlete and a coach.
In my opinion, that was actually one of the best characteristics of the show: how Monica was a mother figure to every child on that team. Though not every athlete had the same upbringing as Morgan or the others who shared their stories, Monica treated every athlete on that team as if they were her own child.
While they never talked about it on the show, I believe it is because of the relationship between Monica and the athletes that made them so successful.
Because of the high level of respect that they all had for her—and their drive to please her in all aspects of life—they worked harder than most athletes do.
When I saw the promotions for the show, I had my doubts because they didn’t show any hint that the documentary would showcase the stories of these hurt teens. I thought that it would be something like Dance Moms, where it would show them fighting over ridiculous things and show how they worked hard to get to their national championships.
What I did not realize, however, was that it wasn’t the team that made the show, but the stories that were showcased to show how even with their horrific pasts, they were able to find a home and a family through the Navarro College cheer team.
I think that this show serves as two lessons.
Everyone has a story. Just because cheerleaders have on big smiles and over-the-top makeup, it doesn’t mean that they are all perfect. They, like us, have insecurities and anxieties and stories that led them to where they are today.
Finally, this show also reveals that everyone has something that they love and are passionate about. Always fight for what you are passionate about and what you really want to do because you can achieve it.
You just need passion and determination.