Basketball season is upon us, and fans will shortly be filing into McHale Gym to cheer on the teams. The student section, in particular, is energetic and fun to watch with their cheers and school spirit.
But while the student section is alive and well, fans from a different era remember a time when many of girls would form a sea of blue and white with synchronized movements and cheers.
From the first year of basketball at CC until the mid-1990’s, the cheer block, or block section, was filled with young ladies in matching navy-blue sweaters and white gloves.
“You would see white hands popping out of a sea of blue,” said Katie Canarecci, class of 1995.
Canarecci was in one of the last groups to participate in cheer block. She found the cheer block to be a good way to spend time with friends. Additionally, cheer block allowed for a strong, coordinated student section. By sitting opposite the teams and the rest of the home-team fans, block section could cheer loudly and effectively in the direction of the rest of the fans and help to foster school spirit.
Cheer block also offered girls an opportunity to participate in a group event, especially during the years before girl’s sports were the norm. Anyone could participate, and at its height, the CC block section had around 250 students in it.
“That was a place for every girl to have some place to belong to,” said Mary Ellen Crose, a teacher and moderator for the cheer block for many years. “All those girls had a place to join and be with their friends after school.”
With row captains and block captains, cheer block was also a great way for the students to learn and show leadership. The students practiced a couple of hours each week before the game, learning different chants and routines that included cards and pompoms as well as hand and head motions.
“We got a lot of compliments about our block and how organized it was,” said Crose. “It was awesome. Everybody had fun.”