By Julia Esposito and Rachel Priest
“Cheer” season one first debuted on Netflix early in 2020. With the team's raw emotions displayed on camera combined with the real life stakes of the competition process, it was no surprise why the documentary was successful. But with COVID-19, allegations, betrayal and new found fame, fans knew all nine episodes in this new season would be intense.
The Navarro cheer team was at an all time high after their 2019 Daytona win and all the attention they gained from the docuseries. But after endless interviews and millions of followers, they were quickly brought back to reality. After their routine was finished and all the teammates were a family again, COVID-19 struck 13 days before the competition. Members that fans grew to love had to graduate before saying goodbye and others had to give in their uniforms with no closure.
“The episode centralized around COVID-19 was really upsetting because I saw many of my favorite cheerleaders leave. However, I did love watching the team start to fall into place as the season went on, ” junior Morgan Oberwiler said.
Although they tried to recreate the magic they had from season one, everything changed for the team in 2021. It began when head coach, Monica Aldama, decided to leave her team to compete in “Dancing with the Stars.” Although the team members tried to be happy for her, it was difficult to connect with the new coach when the primary reason some of these kids came to Navarro was to be coached by Aldama. While members of the team were trying to adapt to this new situation, in addition to COVID restrictions, matters took an even worse turn when allegations started to arise with fan favorite, Jerry Harris.
In September 2020, Harris was charged with federal child pornography sex charges and sexual exploitation of children. Although it gave Navarro a bad reputation, documentarians found it crucial to cover this case. Not only did they include all details and evidence regarding the trial, but the survivors, Charlie and Sam of Fort Worth, Texas, spoke out. As these young boys, who were only identified by their first names, talked about the necessity of coming forward against their abusers, they hoped to encourage other abuse survivors to tell their stories, too. The docuseries also touched upon the team's response to the allegations and the tragedy of loving someone who did something so wrong.
In addition to that downward spiral, season two had a large emphasis on their rivals from Trinity Valley Community College, the Cardinals. These teams had been neck and neck, but with Aldama having a strong grip on the competition, Navarro won Daytona two years in a row. However, the Cardinals did not want to face defeat against Navarro again. With many episodes focused on them, it led many fans to root for them as the “underdogs.”
Source by Rachel Houng
Season two has big "Cheer" shoes to fill.
“In season two, I thought I would still be rooting for Navarro, but watching the Cardinals improve with every episode made me go on their side. Their determination and perseverance was really inspiring,” junior Lena Garafalo said.
Though the season had ups and downs and a nail-biting finale, at the end of the day both teams were proud of themselves for putting their all on the mat.