Thursday, January 16, 2020

"The Navarro cheerleaders concuss themselves with a smile"

Jia Tolentino on Netflix's Cheer:

Navarro has won fourteen of the last twenty national championships; its members mainly compete against one another, vying for a position “on mat,” meaning that they’ll get to perform at Daytona. (Navarro has one real rival, the team at Trinity Valley Community College, which happens to be just down the road.)

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Although the Navarro cheerleaders are some of the best college athletes in the country, they are not, as of this writing, so much as mentioned on the Wikipedia page for Corsicana

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La’Darius, a prodigious all-around talent whose saucy game-day cheering went viral in 2018, seems harsh and mercurial until we learn that, as a child, he was left to defend himself from abuse while his mom was incarcerated, and he understandably resents cheerleaders who have always had the money for private coaching and travel fees. Lexi, a vaping raver with long platinum hair, a stoner affect, and a history of violence, can tumble with such limitless stamina that it feels unreal, as though you were watching a character in a video game.