On the Road to Iowa City: The Big 10 experience of a D3 Cheerleader

On the Road to Iowa City: The Big 10 experience of a D3 Cheerleader

For years, I have been pushing the Athletic Department to let the cheer squad travel, and until a few weeks ago, I’d been shot down on more than one occasion.

It was the Wednesday everyone was leaving, or had already left, for Fall Break and I received an e-mail informing me that the cheer squad, the dance team and the pep band were going to The University of Iowa to support the men’s basketball team.

My first thought? “We’re going to look like morons next to the U of I cheerleaders and I’m going to have a mild heart attack.”

Not only did I need to call everyone on the cheer squad and the dance team to let them know that we were going, but we were to represent Simpson with a brief performance for some very important Simpson-affiliates at a “Red and Gold Reception” prior to tip-off.

After many added practices to prepare the football squad for a basketball game, I began to feel more at ease. After all, it is Carver Hawkeye Arena.

However, I must admit with subtle humor that, upon arriving at Cowles to leave for the game, I saw a giant, yellow school bus parked outside and I nearly fainted. I honestly thought for a second that they were going to stick 40 of us on a school bus for two hours.

Needless to say, Chris Goodale, Leslie Held and the Office of College Advancement were in charge of our arrangements this time and we were given a charter. I couldn’t be more pleased with how we were treated and the wonderful people behind this incredible experience that I’ll never forget.

I could sense we were all nervous as the bus rolled into Iowa City. This was unknown territory for us and we didn’t know what to expect. A beautifully-modern building filled with sky high white walls, various Simpson College decor and smiling alumni awaited us. We were all nervous and excited. We were told to mingle and help ourselves to the hour d’oeuvres while guests continued trickling in. Shortly after, the pep band started us off with the fight song as guests clapped along and seemed very excited that we were there. The band played, dance team leaped and turned and the squad concluded the afternoon with a few cheers and the fight song.

On the way to Carver Arena, the squad chanted in hopes of revving up the alumni and fans seated on our bus. Walking into the arena, we were checked in by a cute old lady and escorted down four flights of stairs to the floor and into a locker room which belonged to the U of I dance team, in order to stretch and prepare.

I felt intimidated next to them, even though I knew I was just as old (if not older) than most of them. Nonetheless, we knew we had a job to do and we knew we were there to support the Storm.

Walking onto the wood and seeing our crowd seated above the U of I pep band made me wonder why our Simpson fans were put in the nosebleed section, nonetheless behind a bunch of tubas and trumpets.

It didn’t matter to us, we ran across that floor as fast as we could during every time-out, making sure to be a visible entity of the game and giving Simpson a presence at Carver Arena.

Our cheers were packed with tight motions and loud voices and fans as well as players gave us many compliments thereafter. Our performance couldn’t have gone any better.

Never will I forget this experience and it couldn’t have come at a better time. About to graduate, I added another great experience to my stack of memories from Simpson and I have an amazing squad and coach to thank for that.