Cheerleader Leader:
Jodi Gardner putting in extra effort at C-P cheer sponsor
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

July 17, 2004 - Jodi Gardner has always been on the sidelines cheering for her favorite team during high school and college sports seasons.

After five years of cheering at Sulphur Springs Middle School and High School, Gardner continued her cheerleading career and traveled to Grayson County College in Sherman to rally the Vikings for two years.

During her senior year at SSHS, Gardner was one of the members of the third-place team that went to the National Cheerleading Association Nationals in Dallas in 1997.

But now, Gardner is stepping into much different shoes in her second year as the Como-Pickton cheerleading sponsor. This is actually her first full year as the sponsor with action starting up in August.

"I came into the program during the middle of last year. They had a brand new sponsor, and then she left right towards the beginning of the year," Gardner said.

She had thought about being a sponsor in the past, but she also says this wasn't something she would have asked to do until they asked her.

With a 3-year-old daughter, Gracie, and her husband, Dean, being a full-time firefighter, Jodi has a difficult time finding the time to be with her family and to deal with the pressure of preparing her squad for events each and every week.

"It can get pretty difficult when the team plays out of town because if my husband is home he will usually watch Gracie or my mother will watch her. We have had lots of people that were willing to help keep her when I decided to become the cheerleading sponsor."

Gardner said her daughter gets to come to every home game the Eagles play because she enjoys seeing the cheerleaders perform throughout the year.

Gardner also knows it takes a lot of work to coordinate events and camps for her team, but she says she enjoys every moment she gets to spend with the squad.

"I had always cheered but had never been a sponsor and never knew all the stuff my sponsor did for an event because it just seemed to happen when I was in high school. We didn't know all the work that went into it, and now I have to get everything together for a game or a camp and plan it out," Gardner said.

Gardner said her main goal as the sponsor is to help the girls grow together as a team and work as a unit this year, and that this will be something they will always remember.

"I hope that the team will have fun cheering and it will be something that they will always remember and they won't dread coming in every day," Gardner said.

She also wants the team to be excited about cheering and to be able to motivate them to be the best cheerleaders they can be during their time at Como-Pickton and to also have a fun year for Eagle sports.

The 2004 Como-Pickton squad just came back from a cheerleading camp in preparation for the upcoming football campaign and made a great impression on the other squads in attendance at the camp.

"A lot of people didn't know where Como-Pickton was and didn't know anything about Como-Pickton and I felt like when we left they thought, "Hey, that's probably a pretty good school because the girls were great," Gardner said.

"I have had some great experiences with this team so far."

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