LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - At Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, cheer athletes have a phrase to illustrate their passion for the sport.
“From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it,” said Christian Trahan, a Lake Arthur native. “From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.”
Trahan made the cheer team in May 2019 before the Netflix documentary, “Cheer,” premiered, which got attention from stars such as Chrissy Teigen and Reese Witherspoon.
In six episodes, the documentary follows the Navarro Cheer team as they compete for their 14th national championship title at Daytona, Florida.
Trahan, who is a tumbler, wasn’t on mat for the competition, but said he watched the documentary with a group of people when it was released at 2 a.m. on Jan. 8.
“It was very emotional, a cool experience,” Trahan said. “You get to hear about the previous season from the athletes that were on the team, and there’s so much on last year’s team that teammates didn’t even know about the people that were featured on the show.”
Trahan started cheerleading in 2015, looking at videos on YouTube to imitate flips on his trampoline in the backyard, then practicing on the floor.
“Awfully scary to us as parents,” his father, Troy Trahan said. “Just watching him, he was so determined to get all these things right.”
Christian joined the junior high cheer team at Lake Arthur High School and started competitive cheerleading at Plano, Texas, where he’s on the all-star team at Cheer Athletics.
Troy said watching his son go from teaching himself in the backyard to now cheering at a 14-time National Championship collegiate team is rewarding.
“It’s come full circle,” Troy said. “As parents, it’s sort of surreal that we’ve seen him go all the way through it and with the Netflix documentary, it’s blown up quite a bit more.”
Christian, who is a freshman at Navarro College, practices every day at the school and at a tumbling gym twice a week. Christian said it’s important to get an adequate amount of sleep to keep up with the busy schedule.
“Sleep is so important to have your mind rested and it allows your muscles to heal," said Christian, who has dealt with multiple injuries in the past, demonstrating how brutal the sport can be.
“It [the documentary] exposes how intense the sport is," Christian said. “And because people see how intense it is, it shows people why we do this sport."
Representing Navarro comes with pressure, which Christian said applies to everyone who wears the uniform.
“I think there’s more pressure on stepping up and holding ourselves responsible athletically,” Christian said. “And keeping in check with our skills because of how many people want to try out and how many wanted to try out this past season.”
Navarro College will compete for a 15th title at the NCA & NDA Collegiate National Championship at Daytona on April 8-12.
Christian said the work and effort to compete for 2 minutes is worth it, especially for a team he considers family.
“You could ask anyone on the team,” Christian said. “There’s no way that anyone would be able to get through everyday life stresses: training, practicing every day and going to school, without having the bond that we have as a family on Navarro Cheer.”