Q&A with Mandy May Cheetham

We sat down with the writer and creator of Trophies to get the scoop on what she loves about cheerleading and how it’s helped her to where she is today (hint hint, being a total boss babe in Hollywood).

What is your favorite cheer memory?

My first cheerleading camp. I was in high school and a group of NCA cheerleaders came to Toronto. I was new to cheerleading and I rallied two other girls from my team to come to camp. They were both fliers and I was a mid-base—we were still doing 2.5 high at the time in high school!!! ON WOOD FLOORS!! It was really hard for us to stunt together and most of the rest of the camp attendees were on full teams, but I did not care. I loved every second of it and spent every minute when we weren’t in classes practicing my cheers, dances, and jumps and stretching. I basically slept in the splits.
I also have many wonderful memories of my years training cheerleaders and coaches in Finland, Sweden, Scotland, China and many other countries. I was able to see the world through cheerleading and those experiences are part of the quilt of my life.

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Trophies Pilot Synopsis

In the style of the beloved tv show Friday Night Lights, Trophies explores what it’s really like to compete a flawless, worlds-winning routine, and the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get to 2:30 of perfection. It truly takes a community to win worlds, and the community in Trophies learns that although we as individuals may be flawed, together we can be perfect… and not just on Instagram!

The young women of the world champion team, Cheer Legacy Lightning, have a reputation to protect—a reputation forged through triumph and tragedy. After back-to-back world championship wins in front of 50,000 screaming fans and an audience of 2 million on tv, the pressure is high to win again. But when their beloved coach Leslie Day collapses at Nationals from an aneurysm, they are left grieving and without a leader… wondering if this sport that they’ve given up everything for is worth it.

Enter Caroline Marshall, a broke and disgraced former world-champion caliber coach, and co- founder of Cheer Legacy Athletics. Today, she is scraping by at a job she hates after being pushed out of the industry ten years ago because of her addiction issues. Now sober, she’s trying to keep her head above water. Initially coaxed back into the industry after ten years by her sister, Caroline ultimately decides to go back to Cheer Legacy to finish the season for Leslie; but Cheer Legacy is also her sister’s biggest rival gym.

As Cheer Legacy Lightning cheerleaders attempt to regain their world champion title during a season rife with conflict, loss, parental interference, and the trappings of cheerlebrity, Caroline finds purpose in leading these elite athletes, reigniting their passion for a sport they all love. Even more than most, the precision sport of cheerleading doesn’t have room for the individual greatness, only excellence in service to the team. It is a test of letting go. Letting go of the past, of the future, of the ego, of those you love, and of those you hate.

Trophies Audition & Casting

Trophies Hollywood Experience: Acting Intensive Workshop

Trophies Audition Process: More info on how to secure a role!

4 Ways to Take A Mental Break Without Leaving the Gym

Cheer is a year-round sport, there really is no off-season! Even if you don’t physically need a break, your brain probably does. Taking a mental break can help you reset and actually make your skills better and easier to achieve because you’re not so focused on that singular outcome. But, if you’re anything like I was as a kid, the thought of being away from the gym in summer makes your heart hurt.

So how do you give yourself time off without having time off?

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Summer Social Sharing… Is It Ok?

New teams, new bonds, summer sunshine… it’s social media heaven! You literally cannot take a bad pic in summer and you’re guaranteed at least 1.5x the likes than any other time of the year… but, should you be sharing that?

For athletes under 18, there’s a lot to think about when sharing on social media, and it’s not all about you. For parents, when you share photos of kids (both yours and other peoples!) you are wading into the weird territory of digital consent. And for everyone, it’s ultimately about safety; it’s about the friends you tagged in the pic, the location tags, and all your posts combined which help outsiders build out a full profile of who you are, where you live, work and cheer, what your schedule is like and your favorite places to hang out.

It’s not about being a buzzkill, it’s about being smart social media participants and navigating new norms together!

Tips for Athletes

If you’re old enough to have an IG, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok (even if it’s private, or monitored by mom/dad) there are a few easy precautions to take to keep you—and your friends—safe online.

  • If you’re not on private, consider locking down your profile. Follower counts won’t determine your popularity, even though it might feel like it right now.
  • What you post now WILL affect your adult life. Consider college applications, scholarships, jobs… it feels like all of that is far away but underage drinking, drugs, smoking, even the comments people post can all affect how you are seen. When it comes to social media, perception IS reality.
  • Following on from that, don’t say the n-word, make slant-eyes or anything else you think is harmless but is actually very hurtful to many people. There are lots of ways to be cool and funny, casual racism is not one of them.
  • Unless it’s so obvious there is no point in hiding it, don’t geotag your pics. It gives creepers way too much information about you and the places you like to hang out.
  • Creepers are not your fault, ever. It’s never your fault if they target you, or if they make comments or try to send you direct messages. Lock down your profile, don’t ever communicate with anyone via DM unless you know who they are (you’re going to have to disappoint some fans, sorry kids) and never ever give out your phone number. If something feels off, it probably is, and always tell your parents.
  • If someone posts a pic of you and tags you and you’re not comfortable with it, you have every right to ask them to take it down. If they won’t, ask a parent to contact their parents, or ask a parent to contact their gym. You have a right to feel comfortable with your online presence.
  • Finstas. We all know they exist. And they’re nowhere near as secret or private as you think. Don’t do it. It’s seriously not worth it.

Tips for Parents

There is a fair amount of research going on right now about the effects of social media on young people, especially girls. The psychological effects of being asked to smile, pose and promote brands or products—or just to smile for grandma—values compliance and their physical self over how they feel about participating in an impromptu photo shoot. Kids learn quickly that mom/dad will be happy when I do this, when I pose like this I get more likes and they are even happier. Children thrive off approval!

  • Monitor social media, not just your kids’ accounts but make an account yourself and be actively lurking to watch trends, see what’s going on and what’s popular right now. It may help you save your kid from eating tide pods 😉
  • It’s awesome your 8yr old flyer prodigy can do a worlds’ team stunt on two grown men… we know you’re proud of them, heck we are probably in awe of their talent too! But considering the motions older athletes do, think about the impression that may give to someone else seeing your kid in a sports bra and shorts performing a globe winning stunt. Outside the bubble of cheerleading, is it normal? If in doubt, put a tee on them, it goes a long way to pulling focus to the athletic activity.
  • It’s not your identity to use. Your children are underage and don’t understand consent or what they’re consenting to. You wouldn’t use your child’s social security number to take out lines of credit, similarly, their online identity and digital footprint are theirs to craft when they’re old enough to do so—with your guidance. If they’re in their teens and want to branch out into making YouTube videos and being models for companies, have an honest, open conversation about why they want to do it and support them by monitoring the relationship with the company, the subscribers, comments, and private messages.
  • Be mindful of publicizing the full names and ages of your children, or others. It’s also a good general practice to check with other parents about sharing pics of their kids online.
  • It’s well-known that images of a single child can be more easily manipulated to look sexual and sell for more on the dark web. When celebrating accomplishments, milestones, or just a really great day out, pile everyone into the pics and try to avoid that single perfect kid shot.
  • Unless it’s so obvious there is no point in hiding it, don’t geotag your pics, or take pics outside their school, church or any place you feel safe leaving your children for extended periods of time. It doesn’t take much for a predator to plot your schedule.

Social media is unavoidable and can be a great way for people to connect, share, like and celebrate our sport. There’s a downside to it too, and a dark side. Being aware, checking your profiles regularly, and be cautious of people and brands wanting to use you for their own gain!

How Yoga Can Make You A Better Cheerleader

Yoga and cheer… don’t really sound like they’d make a good mix. Believe it or not, incorporating yoga into your workouts outside the gym can actually make you a better cheerleader in the gym. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out how yoga can make your a better cheerleader and see our fave yoga YouTube practices!

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Whether you’re a high school coach or prepping your worlds team, everyone needs an 8-count sheet and producers are heading into their busiest season of the year… the last thing you want to do is be the nightmare client! Steve Pawlyk of IPP Music wrote this fantastic and simple step-by-step guide to make sure your music gets delivered on time, just the way you like it.

Someone out there needs to hear this… your 8-count sheets are a mess 

There I said it!  Don’t be mad. I’m just playing with you!  I know that filling out an 8-count sheet can be confusing and tedious at times.  Who wants to sit there and fill in each of those little boxes count by count – line by line.  It can make you pull your hair out. I know that’s why so many coaches fly through it just to get it done.  I’m right there with you. I have been guilty of this at times too. However, it can be problematic since the 8-count sheet can be a critical part of your music creation.  Most of the time it’s all your producer has at their disposal. Therefore, if your 8-count sheet is unclear or confusing then your music producer may not be able to execute that perfect mix that you envision.  Let me help you to solve this problem by providing examples of the do’s and don’ts of the 8-count sheet. Continue Reading

Sweet Summer Reads

There’s nothing more we love than curling up on the couch, or by the pool, or in the hammock, or never getting out of bed because of a good book. Not sure what to read next? Check out these from The Book Depository (free shipping!!).


The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic. Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?






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ICU Update

Big news! In the last week, Cheer Canada received provisional National Olympic Committee recognition for cheeerleading in Canada, and the Hellenic Cheerleading Federation was granted National Olympic Committee recognition in Greece!

Why is this big news? Because the more individual national sports federations (like USA Cheer in America) who gain recognition from their National Olympic Committee means it helps the International Cheer Union on its path to full sport recognition from the International Olympic Committee.

Does this mean cheer will be in the Olympics soon? At the moment, no. The main push for the ICU to be given full sports recognition is so we are allowed to govern our sport, and not be governed by another organization, like gymnastics or dance. The ICU is working hard to gain recognition so we can all continue to build, support and grow the way we want to, without someone else imposing their rules on us. Is it perfect? Not yet! But as one of the fastest growing sports in the world, the ICU is truly supporting the grassroots growth of cheer internationally.

It’s Summer Bonding Time!

Try these 8 ideas to get your team bonding going this summer! And don’t forget to use sunscreen 😉

Click Summer Team Bonding to get a printable pdf!

Happy Olympic Day!

June 23rd is the day we celebrate the Olympic ideals of move, learn and discover. Globally, National Olympic Committees are hosting events for sports, culture, and education which include everybody, regardless of age, gender, social background or sporting ability. It’s all about getting out, having fun and participating in the joy of movement!

For cheerleading, we are a provisionally recognized Olympic sport—one step away from full recognition! With full recognition, we will be able to fully govern our sport through the International Cheerleading Union worldwide, meaning other competing sports federations will no longer have any stake in our sport.

So celebrate all this week using the social hashtags #OlympicDay #cheerleading #ICUCheer and #YourCheerFederation !!