Hoban’s state championships: A cheerleader’s point of view


Coming from a long (long) string of Hoban graduates, I knew from the beginning of my life I would one day enter the Dome and never look back. I attended my cousin’s soccer games at Dowed Field, observed my sister cheer on that same turf, and even watched my dad play in alumni soccer tournaments on the “pro-grass synthetic turf” (thanks, TK).  I sat in the blue and gold stands, patiently awaiting my turn on the sidelines.


Then, it finally came.


In my four years as a Hoban cheerleader,  I have cheered in 54 total football games, 44 of those varsity, 15 of them being OHSAA playoffs and two being State Championship showdowns. I have accumulated 16 glittering bows, four sets of pom-poms and way-too-many pairs of white Varsity brand shoes. My sister cheered in Hoban’s first title game, and this Thursday, I will complete the cycle and cheer in the fourth state championship matchup.


To say I am excited is an understatement.


I remember the bus ride to my first state game as a cheerleader. I braided around 20 heads of hair in the two hours it took to arrive at the Shoe, put my uniform on in a daze and almost teared up as I walked across the Ohio Stadium’s field for the national anthem. To do what I loved on such a large playing field made me realize the enormity of the moment, that I was about to cheer for back-to-back state champions. To be a sophomore, such a smallfry surrounded by upperclassmen, made me appreciate this seemingly once-in-a-lifetime celebration—yet, little did sophomore Athena know, two more state contests would come.


Enter junior year—a new team, new location, new division, but the same outcome. Donning gold glitter on our cheeks and brand new “states” bows, all 21 of us shared in the triumph of a ‘3-peat,’ joyfully watching touchdown after touchdown at Tom Benson Stadium. Afterward, we stormed the field, congratulating our boys on the accomplishment once thought impossible and sang the Alma Mater together so loudly, Hoban fans everywhere could hear us proclaim, “We shall be true to you.”


On Thursday, my team and I will listen as Coach T gives one final chapel speech to his boys and to us, soaking in every last word and wisdom before heading to the girls’ locker room. Hair curling, eyeshadow-ing and “states” bow distribution will inevitably take place as all 17 of us primp for one last game (our sincere apologies to the girls basketball team for the inescapable smell of hairspray in the locker room). Yet, as the final bow is pinned in and the last swipe of lip gloss is painted on, we’ll all be focused on one task—cheering on ourboys to a fourth ring.


But cheering this game also comes with a strong sense of sorrow, as I know I will never cheer under the lights for the Knights again. In my 55th game, I can only hope for the desired outcome, but no matter what, it will not be in vain.


This game is much more than any other match-up—Thursday will be a culmination of years of dedication and hard work, an event honored by the whole Hoban community.  After four years as a Lady Knight, cheering in a third State Championship game seems to be the perfect fairytale ending.

While I can’t promise I won’t tear up as the lights dim and the stands empty, I can promise to hold the memories given to me from Hoban Cheer and Football in my heart forever. As I step onto the field one last time with my team, new bows already pinned and pom poms at the ready, I can assure you that our pride and spirit will shine for all of the Hoban family, as our boys take the field, and hopefully, the victory.