Queen’s got spirit

What’s it like on the Gael cheer teams?

Spirit squads performing at the game on Saturday.
Photo: 
If you’ve attended a football game this season, you’ve seen all three of the Gaels spirit squads cheering on the sidelines. Queen’s has a Varsity Cheer Squad, the Pom Squad, and the Queen’s Band Cheer. Although these groups have the same goal of promoting school spirit and cheering on the Gaels, some differences distinguish them from each other.
 
During the football games, you can find the Cheer Squad on the field doing various stunt routines and cheers in front of the student section. 
 
After doing back handsprings to celebrate a touchdown, they’ll line up and sing the “Oil Thigh” with the students in the stands. Then, after seeing the updated scoreboard, they will get down and do one pushup for every point the Gaels have scored. Afterward, with their faces glowing red from sweat and fatigue, they shout, “and more and more and more!” encouraging the Gaels to score again. 
 
Michelle Marquez, ArtSci ’23, and Spencer Dallas, Computing ’23, are the Queen’s Varsity Cheer team captains. Their team cheers at the home football games, but also participates in competitions against other universities on national and provincial levels throughout the year. 
 
Queen’s success this season has meant a tiring bunch of home games for the Varsity Cheer Squad. Although the pushups and crazy stunt routines can be exhausting, Co-Captain Marquez told The Journal the stadium’s atmosphere gives the team energy. 
 
“The crowd is generally what keeps us going. We want to keep them entertained.”
 
Auditions for the varsity cheer squad are held in the fall, and the team practices three times a week throughout the school year. 
 
Both captains described how the team feels like a family; they talked about how being a part of a spirit squad gives them a tremendous amount of school pride. 
 
“Cheer is something I didn’t know existed for guys when I came to university,” Dallas said in an interview with The Journal
 
“I joined the team, and itended up being a really positive environment. Everyone is always excited to be here.”
 
Queen’s Pom, meanwhile, is a rec club devoted to cheering on various Queen’s teams. The team has performed at the rugby championship and varsity basketball games. Most recently, they performed at the TriColour Classic Basketball game.
 
Like the cheer team, the Pom Squad also competes in Canadian Cheer competitions during the winter and spring.
 
“We love supporting the Gaels, and being a part of the Kingston community,” Megan Parson, ConEd ’25, said in an interview with The Journal.
 
The team is well known for their halftime dance routine, which they perform at home football games. The captains said it took about a week to master the performance, as the addition of new members necessitated quite a few adjustments. 
 
During home football games, the Pom Squad performs at halftime but stays on the field while the game is happening. The Cheer Squad performs throughout the entire game and does a showcase after the first and third quarters. 
 
Queen’s has one more spirit squad on its roster: Queen’s Bands Cheer. 
 
Where the Pom and Varsity Cheer squads can be found on the sidelines, the Queen’s Band Cheer squad is found in the stands. They stand in front of their bandmates and cheer along while the instruments behind them play. 
 
Their audition process is broken down into two segments. The first requires participants to perform a routine to the traditional song “Old Queen’s Sweater.” 
 
The second portion is a personal interview—ultimately, the team looks to recruit members based on their personalities. 
 
“We interview you for your energy,” Captain Devon Sweeney, ArtSci ’23, said in an interview with The Journal. “We just want to see if you’re really easy to work with, someone who supports other people on the team, and if you have a good spirit.” 
 
This extra step in the recruitment process helps cultivate an environment of positivity and support within the team, which is especially important for when the Gaels aren’t playing their best. 
 
“No matter how the game is going, we’re cheerleaders so we stick with our team no matter what,” Sweeney said. “We believe in them no matter what. At the end of the day, win or lose, we are proud of them no matter what.” 
 
Sweeney said the band plays an essential role in keeping the crowd, and the players hyped up throughout the game. Football Head Coach Steve Snyder agreed. 
 
“The band is the heartbeat [of the game]. We’re just really glad to have you guys back and we can feel that in the energy,” he said in a press release. 
 
Although each spirit squad has its differences, the three teams contribute to the electric atmosphere that exists in Richardson Stadium on game day. All three of these squads build school spirit and help continue long-standing traditions. 
 
“Come to the games!” Sweeney said. “The games were such a big deal; my mom went to Queen’s back in like the 80s and the football games were where it was at. Just go to the game; it’s good spirit!” 
 

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