Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Guest Post: Why I chose to write about All-Star Cheer by Elisa Dane

Today I have the pleasure of having Elisa Dane, author of Ex Factor, on the blog with a guest post about her choice of sport for Ex Factor.

Why I chose to write about All-Star Cheer
by Elisa Dane

Romance novels involving sports are nothing new. Adult romance author Jaci Burton penned her Play-By-Play series, a group of books featuring hunky athletes and their love interests. Then, of course, we have Katy Evans, the author of my favorite New Adult novel, Real, which features a to-die-for yummy underground fighter. My oldest daughter would string me up by my toes if I didn't mention Miranda Kinneally's Stealing Parker and Catching Jordan. Each of these books feature strong characters that play a variety of sports…none of which include the sport of All-Star cheer. This got me thinking.

On May 31st, 2013, the annual assembly of SportAccord welcomed the International Cheer Union (ICU) as an official member, recognizing cheerleading as a sport. Of course, those of us who've been a part of the All-Star cheer world for a while now already knew this as fact. All-Star is nothing like its sister, High School Cheer. The athletes, jump, tumble, dance, stunt, run, and perform a grueling two-and-a-half minute routine that would challenge their fittest peers. Each of my three daughters participates in competitive cheer and it was their commitment, persistence, and fierce passion for the sport that inspired me to write about a level-five competitive cheer team.

My girls have been cheering at the same gym for nine seasons now. They've grown up in their gym, created lasting friendships, learned the meaning of teamwork and what it means to work toward a goal, and of course, become amazing athletes at the same time. There are five categories in which these athletes compete, the most difficult being level five. This is the elite level where you see athletes launch their bodies across the mat into insane tumbling passes you see gymnasts perform during the Olympics. The training for this level is beyond intense, as my middle daughter is quickly learning. Tryouts for the new season were just over a week ago, and she (and the rest of the family) were excited to learn she'd made our gym's first straight level-five team. Yes, yes…there are even different categories within level five (restricted, open), all with their own set of rules and regulations. Straight level-five athletes are required to throw standing fulls, double fulls, as well as be able to perform tricks such as toe-touch tucks, among other things. Yep, the lingo is as crazy as the tricks themselves. My baby will be living in the gym for the next several months, perfecting her tumbling and stunting skills. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, my baby is a flyer as well. She's one of a few handfuls of team members who get launched into the air while performing various flexibility skills. Uh-huh… My heart lives in my throat a majority of the time!

As a veteran cheer mom, I'm familiar with a lot of the lingo and skills required of the athletes who participate in All-Star cheer. That being said, I'm no coach. I don't know all of the rules, which is where my daughter's coaches came in. They've been in the business for over fifteen years and are experts in the field. When I had questions regarding the legality of certain stunts (specifically in book #3), I turned to them for help. Yes, I write fiction, but I want my stories to be as true to life as possible. If my daughter can't perform a certain stunt in real life, I don't want my fictional cheerleaders to perform it.
Of course, my series doesn't revolve around the X-Factor cheer gym. Each book has its own message about various topics such as drinking and driving, texting and driving, and abusive relationships. You can bet your booty, though, that interwoven between the main story arc, and love story, is a whole lot of cheer. It's a huge part of my family's life, and a sport that I think more people need to know about. I'm hoping my series will shed some light on these amazing athletes and give people an appreciation for them they may not have had before.

Thank you Elisa for this very insightful guest post. I am fascinated with how people are able to do these kinds of stunts and yet make it look so easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a few moments to comment.
Comments mean love and make the world go round so don't be shy :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...