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Face of the Game – Nealy Kate Anderson

Coaches across Texas High athletics choose standout players from the season
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Senior varsity captain Nealy Kate Anderson holds up a sign at a Texas High pep rally. Nealy was honored as the cheer Face of the Game.

Boarding another charter bus, coming home from another Tiger football win, the cheer bus is electric. Right in the middle of it all, senior captain of the varsity cheer team, Nealy Kate Anderson, leads her team in songs and laughs, creating memories that will last her a lifetime.

“My favorite memories from the last four years of cheering at Texas High are definitely the charter bus rides to and from football games,” Anderson said. “Those are times with the team that I will never forget. It’s always so loud and energetic, even when we are all exhausted.”

What started out as an extracurricular activity to tire out a bubbly, energetic little girl turned into a lifelong passion.

“I started cheerleading when I was six years old. I was little and had a ton of energy, so cheer was a good way of just getting all of that energy out and it was very fun for me,” Anderson said. “The gym that I started out at was owned by my aunt, so it was cool to get to cheer surrounded by family.”

Anderson moved from recreational cheerleading and shifted her focus to competitive cheer, a stressful task to take on for a little kid, however, she didn’t endure the stress for no reason. Through the hard times, Anderson built irreplaceable bonds with people she will cherish forever and began to shape her future self. 

“Doing competitive cheer so young was a lot of fun, but it also had a ton of stressful moments that came with it. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to be great. When I didn’t meet my own expectations it was upsetting.” Anderson said. “But I made a bunch of my lifelong friends through competitive cheer and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without it. It made me who I am.”

School cheerleading and competitive cheerleading are two separate atmospheres, exposing two completely different environments. Anderson made the decision to take up school cheer to branch out into the Texas High community and to help her pursue future goals. 

“I decided to cheer at Texas High because I knew that I wanted to cheer in college one day. That meant I would need to expose myself to school cheer, especially if I wanted to achieve that goal I had set for myself,” Anderson said. “I also wanted to be more involved in high school, because I wasn’t very involved in middle school. I wanted to make new friends. I knew that my journey in competitive cheer was coming to an end, and I wanted to keep cheering.”

The sport brought Anderson more than cherished memories, it impacted her as a person and athlete, as well. 

“Cheering impacted my life as an athlete by really just making me tougher mentally,” Anderson said. “I know it might not be the most physically demanding and physically tough sport ever, but it challenges you mentally everyday. It forces you to be able to work with others and to learn yourself better. It showed me how to fulfill my potential.”

Like anything in life, cheer comes with its own ups and downs. 

“My favorite part about cheer is definitely the people it has brought me, for sure. I have made so many friends through competitive and school cheer. I love being able to spend so much time with them. The bonds that we have with each other are amazing and unbreakable,” Anderson said. “My least favorite part about cheer is having to remember the complicated cheers. SOme of the cheers get to being a little mentally challenging.”

Over the years, the outlet for a little girl to blow through energy became the outlet for a young woman to build herself as a person. Leaving Texas High Cheer with an infinite number of memories, a group of true friends and a little girls’ dreams lived out, Anderson will venture out into the world, hoping to discover a new passion outside of cheer.

“I’ve wanted to cheer in college since I was a little girl, and the thought of not being involved in cheer drives me crazy,” Anderson said. “Recently, I discovered that I want to have a break and just let myself be a normal person. I know I don’t want to have the extra stress of cheering on my shoulders going into college. I am forever grateful for what cheer has brought into my life, but it’s definitely time to live outside of my comfort zone and outside of just cheer.”



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About the Contributor
Kailyn Williams
Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor
Kailyn Williams is a third-year senior member of the newspaper staff and Sports Editor. She is an overachieving perfectionist, who doesn’t like failing. She is a member of the varsity volleyball and softball team and likes to maintain straight A’s.

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    Joey KeilbachJan 23, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Love this and this young woman!!!

    Reply