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Blame It On The “Cuties”

Good luck is not something everyone believes in, but for some cheerleaders, nothing will go right without downing five energy shots at 7 AM.  In a cheerleader’s mind, if we don’t do the same thing every competition morning, then things will go very wrong, very fast. Some think it’s all in our heads, but we take sniffing orange peels pretty serious.  

Good luck is defined as something “Used to express wishes for success.”  Luck is something cheerleaders all joke about, saying we all have the worst of it.  To combat bad luck, superstitions are something that cheerleaders follow to bring good luck to situations.  There are many superstitions, but cheerleaders might just have the craziest.

Personally, my competition mornings start by waking up and eating exactly four Cheerios.  After that, I consume a nutritious breakfast of Cheez-Its and chocolate milk, praying it won’t come back up later.  Moving to beauty, Rylee has to come to my hotel room to do my makeup, specifically contour my face with her brushes. I then make her tease my hair and aggressively pin down my sparkly bow.  Walking to the convention center, I put on a playlist consisting of a good four songs on repeat, for hours: Flashlight by Jessie J, One Step at a Time by Jordin Sparks, Rise Up by Andra Day, and Case of the Ex by Mya.


Arriving at warm-ups, I have to eat only one piece of a Halo clementine.  It has to be the Halo brand or bad luck will break loose. Perish the thought of Darlings, and the absolute worst luck-causing-brand: Cuties. The sinister thought of Cuties brings memories of last place finishes. Then, Emily has to peel the clementines, and the team walks around sniffing the peels.  There is some scientific validity to this superstition, according to The Health Site– “The citric scent of oranges is known to be very good in relaxing the mind and beating stress.”

While sniffing the peels is good for relieving stress and nerves, it turned from a vital superstition to a pretty weird habit.  Soon enough, our annoyed coaches started bringing orange-scented essential oils; they were tired of being forced to carry the bag of peels. We were hesitant- we only accept Halo peels nothing more, nothing less- but soon enough that joined the list too.

After warm-ups, everyone does their handshakes with each other, those are the most important. Running on the mat with Emily, hugging her, and rushing to find our spots is crucial. Holding up a heart to my coaches with two nervously shaking hands is also pivotal; and they have to do one back.  If they don’t, I know it’s over before we even start. Coming off the mat, you know all superstitions were done correctly if you just hit a perfect routine. If something went wrong, that’s when you start blaming people.

“She didn’t contour my nose, she always does!”

“No, you didn’t peel the last orange like you’re supposed to!”

Then it hits you.  It wasn’t the nose contour.

It wasn’t the orange peeling.

It was you.

You flashback to the morning- leaving the fourth cheerio on the counter.

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