On September 10, 2010, the Naptown Roller Girls (NRG) made their first-ever appearance in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s (WFTDA) Regional Tournament held in Green Bay, WI. As the team took the track, they had no idea that things in the stands were about to get a little more, well…”cheeri.”
Dressed head-to-toe in red except for the the black checks in her socks, carrying a plastic megaphone emblazoned with Naptown’s skull logo in one hand and black and red pom-poms in the other, a one-woman cheering machine unleashed herself upon the world at large. Her undeniable Naptown spirit shone brightly through her red plastic sunglasses and her platinum blond braids swung in time with her arm movements as she shouted, “Hey, hey, ref, yeah we’re a fan, but let’s start the jam! I said, ‘Start the jam!'” Ladies and gentlemen: meet CheeriOh.
Although CheeriOh has been quite busy with network television interviews and a photo spread in Seventeen magazine, she graciously found time to share her story with this writer and foamcage.com. “I was inspired to make my first appearance (due to) NRG making it to regionals for the first time. Such an incredible accomplishment required a special cheering section,” she explained.
According to CheeriOh, that “special cheering section” is made up of those who aren’t afraid to go nuts for Naptown. The ideal CheeriOh member (even the squad is named for the blond bombshell) “must possess a complete and undying love for NRG and know how to wave a mean pom-pom,” she said. When asked about recruitment, CheeriOh tipped her hat to another group member. “Just talk to ‘The Enforcer’,” she responded mysteriously.
Along with CheeriOh’s “Stage Mother,” The Enforcer (“T.E.”) is part of the elite inner core that makes the squad tick. So, T.E. stated, are the right shoes. “Black Converse shoes are a must,” she explained. T.E. is also in charge of “tapping in” new CheeriOh recruits. Her love for her job is apparent, as she also acts as CheeriOh’s “right-hand-(wo)man” and does “anything else my Head CheeriOh needs me to do.”
Does T.E. have a favorite cheer? You betcha. Referring to Sirens Ima Hurchu and Willa Hoeflinch, she grabbed her megaphone and shouted, “‘IMA WHAT? HURCHU! IMA WHAT? HURCHU!’ and ‘WILL A HO FLINCH? YES, SHE WILL!'” Other CheeriOhs, including Rooty, Hi-C, Cheerphyllis and another member, whose moniker is a bit “too creative” for this article (we shall henceforth refer to her lovingly as “T”), joined in with, “IN THE FRONT OR IN THE BACK, ANA SLAYS YA RULES THE PACK!” Naptown fans appreciate the well-deserved props given to Ana, whose blocking and pivoting skills are known for being some of the best in the Sirens’ arsenal.
Besides getting to support the best roller derby team around, being a CheeriOh does have some added perks. “We get stuff like free ice in our drinks and free front row seating, but really I just love being able to hang with cool people and cheer on my team,” shared “T.” “T” is also a fan of the “secret CheeriOh ritual,” but stops herself before she reveals too much (no pun intended).
The CheeriOhs cheer at all home and away Naptown bouts. CheeriOh considers the most enjoyable part of a bout “watching NRG leave it all on the track. Win or lose, NRG is is always number one.” She also doesn’t play favorites. “Every Siren is my favorite Siren,” she explained.
Are you hoarse within the first 5 minutes at a Naptown bout? Do you cross off the days until the next bout on your calendar, much like children do for a Christmas countdown? Do you find yourself wanting free ice? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, cheering with the CheeriOhs just might be for you. Regardless, one thing is certain: you will not find more loyal, dedicated, supportive and proud fans than those of Naptown. And thanks to CheeriOh and her CheeriOhs, we have one more way to get pumped up for the team we love.