Cheer Director Greg Whiteley Explains the Strange Rules at Daytona

Cheer Director Greg Whiteley Explains the Strange Rules at Daytona
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Director Greg Whiteley is giving a crash course in Cheer.

In a recent interview on the Reality Life With Kate Casey Podcast, the documentarian broke down the many intricacies of cheerleading and revealed what drew his attention to the tiny town of Corsicana, Texas.

To kick things off, Greg delved into his introduction to Navarro and Monica Aldama, recalling how he was in the middle of filming Last Chance U when his crew noticed the cheerleaders on the sidelines. "In an effort to do things differently, we went and filmed one of their practices," he explained, "and it was strangely intense."

After that, he began researching the top college cheer teams and found out about Navarro, at which point he scheduled a phone call with Monica. Five seconds into their conversation, Greg decided "that she's who we'd want to follow," and the first season of Cheer premiered in 2020.

His instincts proved him right and Cheer is now on its second season, having wowed audiences with its tale of perseverance and strength.

Cheer Season 2 Cast

And it doesn't hurt that the cheerleaders are incredibly talented. Navarro and Cheer newcomer Trinity Valley, located in nearby Athens, Texas, consistently place in the top two at the National Cheerleaders Association's Collegiate National Championship, a.k.a. Daytona.

But viewers recently learned that Navarro and Trinity Valley are the only two schools competing in the advanced large co-ed junior college division, a detail that isn't mentioned in the series.

Cheer Season 2, Monica Aldama
Netflix

The reason? Greg said it's simply not an important piece of information. He explained that the small division shouldn't take away from the colleges' achievements because their high level of expertise eliminated other competitors.

"The things that they were attempting to do in their routines have such a high degree of difficulty, that by strictly showing up and even attempting their routine, their score sheet was so much higher than the other teams," he said. "It wasn't even a real competition. And so, as teams were looking at the score sheet and realizing they're never going to beat these teams, they would slowly quit."

Monica said as much in a previous interview with Slate, noting that those who don't participate in the advanced division often move to the intermediate division, where certain stunts are forbidden. According to the NCA, intermediate competitors are not allowed to do pyramids that are more than two persons high and tumblers cannot do back tucks, among other rules. That leaves just Navarro and Trinity in the advanced group.

Cheer Season 2, Netflix, Teammates from Trinity Valley Community College
Netflix

Greg added that there's also an overall score at Daytona, so Navarro and Trinity Valley are still facing off against the best in the nation.

But he also noted that Monica doesn't place too much importance on the scores: "She's not competing against anybody but herself. She feels like there is this Platonic ideal of a of this particular cheer routine of any given year and she's trying as best she can to reach that ideal regardless of who is or who isn't in her division."

Greg also touched on another interesting aspect of competitive cheerleading: There's no age limit.

According to the director, the National Collegiate Athletic Association doesn't consider cheer a sport, so it isn't governed by the same body of rules. This means that a 30 year old could participate alongside an 18 year old at Daytona so long as they're enrolled in the same school. He said of the peculiar rule, "We did see people that were kind of wondering like, shouldn't you be done with cheerleading by now?"

Cheer Season 2, Gabi Butler
Instagram

The sophomore season was made all the more interesting by the inclusion of season one favorites, like Gabi Butler and Morgan Simianer, who have become bona fide celebrities thanks to the show. Greg said it gave him even more reason to return to Navarro, explaining, "They're being offered opportunities that you'd be stupid to turn down—A Buick commercial, a chance to appear on your favorite show of all time, Dancing With the Stars. These are things that come along for only a very tiny percentage of people that live on planet earth and they're only going to come around once. So to film that was I found that incredibly interesting."

Season two of Cheer is streaming now on Netflix.

Behind the scenes drama? What do I watch next? Click here to get all the TV scoop straight in your inbox.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting