“She’s Cheer Captain and I’m on the Bleachers”
LeClaire retires from coaching cheer team
The full stadium. The roar and energy from the crowd. The steps practiced to perfection. Nicole LeClaire spent her youth cheering with all her might in her hometown in El Paso, proudly and consistently going to regionals and state throughout her high school years. Her passion did not falter with age, and because of this she signed up for Cy Creek’s cheer coach years later. Vividly remembering the games she participated in, LeClaire wanted to pass that same enthusiasm to her own cheer team.
In her eleven years as a coach, LeClaire has held several unique experiences near and dear to her heart. Preparing for sports games, Lighting of the CC or pep rallies, a carefree and influential moment stands out among the rest.
“It’s turned into a tradition that we’ve been doing for eight years,” LeClaire said. “So [now] we always have an annual costume game, [but] it started out as a joke.”
Eight years ago, LeClaire’s team jokingly asked her if they could wear costumes to a game that fell on Halloween. Strict at the time, LeClaire’s uptight attitude diminished and approved of the girls’ idea. For that game, the girls performed in eye-catching costumes, sparking a tradition that has lasted ever since.
“I want the traditions to stay in place,” LeClaire said. “I want the program standards to stay in place. We worked hard to change the reputation and to be more involved in school.”
Although traditions hardly change, seasons do. Cheer does not stop at football, but goes on throughout the remaining of the year in different sports such as basketball and volleyball.
New games. New routines.
“We’d warm up, stretch, run through routines,” LeClaire said. “And then, of course, when you switch seasons, you create new material for whatever sport you’re entering into.”
Always planning ahead for their next game, LeClaire pushes herself to her limits, causing exhaustion with every passing match and tournament. This everyday stress has taken a toll on LeClaire, leading to her retirement. She still hopes for the team to perform their best, despite her not in a coaching position. Passing the reigns onto the new cheer coach, Marz, LeClaire plans to watch the team grow and develop their techniques from the sidelines.
“I’m just tired. People don’t realize how much time and energy it takes. It’s ten months out of the year, and I’ve been doing it for a long time,” LeClaire said. ”I love the girls; I love the sport and everything, [but] it’s just time for me to get some free time.”