LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Tech cheer team made its way into the Jones AT&T Stadium on Thursday, ready to cheer on the Red Raiders at yet another game day. Adorned with big bows and fitted uniforms, the team came to the game with the same purpose in mind as decades of teams before them, but with many differences, too.
The biggest difference according to Bruce Bills, the head cheer and mascot coach, is the athleticism required of teammates today.
“The majority of our athletes have what’s called a ‘full.’ That’s when you’re flipping like a back tuck, but you’re also spinning and that is very difficult to do,” Bills said.
The cheerleaders practice for hours a week, whether that be in the gym or on their own, making sure they can land their tumbling passes and complicated stunts.
“Landing on your feet is not easy but it’s super fun,” Allee Teague, a fourth-year Texas Tech cheerleader, said.
Teague calls the flips and stunts surreal.
“I feel like it’s more like the circus now,” Teague said.
However, it’s not just the tumbling and athleticism level that have changed over the years. What used to be longer, pleated skirts and flared pants in past years have turned into tight-fitting uniforms to help with the constant throws, catches and tumbling passes.
But some things have never changed, no matter how long it’s been, such as the routine for Texas Tech’s fight song.
“I want to continue that tradition … the fight song and some of the sideline chants that we do – I never want to change,” Bills said.
Bills said they want to stay connected to the cheerleaders that came before them. After all, the reason they are there is still the same.
“You’ve always wanted to put on your brightest face, your biggest bow and be excited to cheer for your school,” Teague said.