CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way sports operate in our world, but maybe no more so for one sport among local high schools.
Cheerleading is among the toughest sports. But the Moody Trojans continue to make it look easy, despite a lot of obstacles standing in their way in 2021.
Moody Cheer hasn't allowed a pandemic to slow them down, but it certainly made their first practices different.
“Everybody is on the computer and there separately,” said senior cheerleader Bianca Jesalva.
The Trojans overcame awkward Zoom practices, then they found out there would be no state cheer tournament.
“It was devastating to the girls,” said Moody coach Lynda Ramos. "They need to find some type of encouragement for all the hard work they put in.”
But nonetheless, they persevered.
“We had Plan A, Plan B -- then there was Plan C,” said senior cheerleader Anna Ortiz.
Plan C? Nationwide virtual competitions.
"We've never competed in a virtual competition so we don't know how the other teams did,” she said.
Imagine a regular cheer showcase: fans in the stands, judges right in front -- and replace that with a camera. That's how it works.
"Every take they'd want to see the video,” Ramos said. “And they'd want to pinpoint all their errors. (They’d say) no, coach, give me another chance.”
With audiences not allowed in, only the sound of their cheer echoes throughout the gym.
"You don't have the people to cheer you on, and it has to be quiet, so you're not as boosted,” Jesalva said. “Usually the crowd gives us the adrenaline we need to go through the routine, and not having that, we really have to count on each other.”
Just like the rest of the obstacles, they've found a way to overcome.
"We came out on top,” Ramos said. “We won first place in our division."
First place in one nationwide competition with another one approaching this weekend. In a year full of obstacles, the team has made their coach proud.
“They push me,” Ramos said. “They really do. They keep me motivated.”