Is it the yelling, the intense physical activity for sports team motivation or is it audience entertainment or competition based on organized routines?
The answer is all of the above and more.
Here in Cleveland one group has embraced all that cheerleading has to offer.
Through competition and community service, the CE All Stars formerly known as CUZ (Children Utilizing Zest) Elite & Cheer All Star Squad are winning on and off the mat.
Kimetria Parks, owner and coach, established the organization in 2011 with everything coming together in Feb. 2012. Beginning in Oct., Parks and her group moved into their current location called Spirit Xplosion (Home of CE All Stars).
The CE All Stars are comprised of 53 athletes ranging in ages 3-17. Those athletes compete on four different squads in four different age groups. The Twinkle, Shimmer, Sparkle and Dazzle Squads all compete for the CE All Stars.
"We strive to create a fun and positive environment while remaining highly competitive in the cheerleading world,” Parks said. “These teams are not recreational. All athletes are trained to compete at a high level of intensity.”
For Parks, who was a cheerleader in high school at Holly Springs, said she loves cheerleading and everything it teaches young people.
"I loved my time as a cheerleader in high school,” Parks said. “The way I felt is the same way I want my teams to feel. Our organization not only teaches cheer, dance, and tumbling skills, it also instills self-discipline, self-confidence, improves listening skills, introduces the importance of teamwork and encourages an active, healthy lifestyle. Through competition, our athletes learn life lessons of winning and losing gracefully, respect and good sportsmanship.”
In addition to Parks, the group also receives chorography from Ebony Phinisee, who travels from Texas to instruct as well as parents who have formed a booster club to help meet various needs as it relates to the squads.
"I am so thankful for the support that we receive, especially from the parents who go above and beyond to help us. They raise money and do whatever is needed to insure every athlete gets a chance to compete," Parks added.
Parks said building this team has had some missteps, but it has been all worth it as she watches her athletes develop and grow in so many areas of life.
"Two of our main goals are to create award-winning routines and be an active group in the community,” Parks said. “We are different from school cheer that exists to support athletic teams. We train athletes at our gym to learn cheerleading, tumbling, stunts and dance skills for the purpose of performing and competing," said Parks.
The CE All-Stars are an approved member of the USASF (United States All-Star Federation).
"As the owner/coach, I’ve earned the credentialing to coach at various levels, and our athletes earn credentialing to compete at a difficulty level that matches their abilities,” Parks said. “Athletes that train at our USASF member gym and competing at USASF sanctioned events, parents can be confident that their children are participating in a safe environment.”
Thus far, the teams have traveled and competed at several competitions:
• Nov. 2, 2013 Mid-South Regional Fair – Southaven – Teams won 1st and 2nd place.
• Dec. 14, 2013 Dixie Championship – Jackson – Teams won (2) 1st place and 6th place.
• Jan. 26, 2014 WSA Invitation – Southaven – Teams won (2) 1st place and 3rd place.
• February 8-9, 2014 Athletic Gold Championship – Hot Springs, Ark. Teams won (3) 1st place with Team Sparkle defeating the Southaven Wildcats in the All-Star Youth Category.
Most recently the group competed in the Jamfest Lite Series in Southaven with Team Twinkle finishing fifth in their first competition ever.
In that same competition, Team Sparkle earned second place and best choreography out of all Level 1 teams and Team Dazzle grabbed first place in their category.
The teams will tentatively travel to Tupelo on Mar. 22 to compete in the Victory Spirit Athlete and from April 5-6, in Destin, Fla. to compete in the Athletic Championship.
Parks is also scheduling to hold tryouts from April 7-12 for ages 3-18.
"We don't turn anyone away,” Parks said. “This is a group where everyone is welcome to try. No matter your race or gender."