I never came close to being a cheerleader. Aside from being inherently uncoordinated (I think, as I try to remember just how I got this giant bruise on my knee), I couldn’t deal with the big crowds. Very early in my life, I fell in love with the most solitary sport: swimming. When I started high school, I didn’t hesitate to join the swim team. Lucky for me, they didn’t have tryouts.
Underwater… but cheerful
I held a permanent place in Lane 6, which was reserved for the most—ahem—casual swimmers. I am not built for speed, but I loved swimming so much that I kept at it for three years, even though I never really got any better. Just before our meets would begin, the whole team would gather on one end of the pool and do swim cheers. Already a history nerd in the making, my favorite cheer started out “Now listen children and you will hear/bout the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” Although it was definitely not as factual as Mollie’s “formula” cheer, I was psyched to have swimming and history, two of my favorite things, meet up.
Like all of the SLOSE scientists and engineers, there is a point where the secret and the science, or the passion and the work, will intersect. I’m not sure if Mollie has a cheer about mouse brains or sequences, but I would totally cheer along with her if she did.
And Mollie, you may think your MIT cheerleading jacket gets a lot of attention, but I will raise you one Brookline Swimming and Diving sweatshirt with “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT” filling up the entire back. My friends have stolen that thing for weeks at a time.