Tumbling Into a New Sport

Explore Davis’ journey as she picks up cheerleading

Eight-year-old Bea Davis tumbled into cheerleading while trying out new sports, little did she know, her new hobby would stick with her for the rest of her life.

Growing up, Davis tried out multiple sports such as soccer and softball, but cheer was the only sport that she stuck with since it resonated with her. When Davis was in elementary school, the local middle school near her hosted a clinic for cheer where the elementary schoolers could try the sport out by tumbling—a sport where gymnasts perform a series of acrobatic skills down a 25 meter long track. Examples of tumbling include doing cartwheels, flips, and handstands. Enjoying it, Davis started to cheer for her elementary school’s program. 

Davis was born in San Diego, California and at four-years-old, her family moved to Chicago, Illinois. because her father was in the Navy. Davis’ family lived near Lake Michigan, where she found herself playing in the lake and enjoying the outdoors.  

Davis poses for a photo during her senior night on March 5, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Bea Davis.)

After living in Chicago for seven years, Davis moved to the Bay Area when her father retired from the military. During middle school, Davis continued cheering, while participating in tumbling outside of school for a program called “All-Star Cheer”. While being part of this program, Davis attended multiple competitions where cheer teams from all over the state would come to perform, with hundreds of people in the stands, watching. 

“When the lights come on the stage, you don’t notice anybody else that’s out there because it’s bright and then everything else seems dark,” Davis said. “So you really just put 110% of your mental and physical effort into a two-minute and thirty-second routine, and once you put out a good routine it feels amazing.” 

Davis recalled that one time while she was doing a performance for All-Star-Cheer, her teammate elbowed her in the head in the middle of the routine and Davis had to finish the routine with a big bump on her head. After the routine, when Davis’ adrenaline rush wore off, she realized she was almost knocked out by an elbow.

“That’s the kind of person I was,” Davis said. “I would put on a face for the routine, no matter what was going on.”

During high school, Davis continued to cheer competitively and for her high school Bear Creek as well, performing at her high school’s football and basketball games. Cheering competitively, Davis ended up winning a cheer scholarship from one of the competitions she won: The American Championships.

Even though Davis both tumbled and stunted, what she loves most about cheer is stunting. Stunting is when a team displays its skill or dexterity. Stunting can be when a team organizes themselves into a pyramid. Davis enjoys how stunting is less common and it is unique to see someone perform a stunt since it takes a lot of time and effort.

“I think [stunting] is a skill that a lot of people don’t have or don’t think that they could acquire,” Davis said. “You can go pick up a basketball, you can take shots or like, pick up a football, and pass that around, but like for stunting you have to have a very specific group of people that are very dedicated.”

Davis ended up attending California State University, Sacramento, since the school’s cheer team was more competitive than other schools in California. Davis decided to study Kinesiology, the study of the body’s movement. 

At first, Davis wanted to get into physical therapy since she knew that she wanted to do a job that involved movement. But over time she decided to study kinesiology since it would ultimately give her more job options in the future. Davis incorporates her knowledge of the body into her coaching by guiding her team through different drills that can help them understand different skills in cheer.

Davis practices stunting with her co-ed team on her last trip to the UCA College Nationals on Jan. 16, 2016.

As part of the cheer team at her university, Davis cheered for most of the school’s sports teams, while also cheering at community events for her school. On top of cheering for her college, Davis attended numerous competitions all over the country. Davis had the opportunity to perform multiple times at Disney World and she enjoyed performing behind the Disney Castle and making memories with her teammates.

After graduating college, Davis had more free time without multiple practices and games throughout the week. To fill up her free time, Davis works out at the gym and she loves it. She has a set schedule for the gym and goes a couple times a week. Davis also spends her free time going to see new movies with her AMC movie pass. Out of all the movie genres, action movies are Davis’ favorite, as she enjoys the suspense and the feeling of being a part of the movie. Davis also enjoys watching shows, she especially enjoys watching hospital or emergency shows such as Grey’s Anatomy. 

Since she was a child Davis knew that she wanted to be a teacher since her mother was one, but she did not know what she was going to teach. When she realized that her degree in Kinesiology could be used to teach PE, she knew wanted to be a PE teacher. In the summer of 2016 after college, Davis started her teaching program to get her teaching credential. In the same year, Davis started teaching physical education for elementary school children at ABLE Charter in Stockton, Calif., Davis coached cheer there. After two years, Davis went to Bullis Charter where she only taught PE for elementary school children. While teaching PE, Davis missed the joy she had while being involved with cheer. She soon decided to look for a cheer coaching job to get back into the sport.

When Davis applied to UPA, she only applied for the coaching position for the cheer team. UPA needed another PE teacher, so Davis decided she was up for the challenge of teaching middle schoolers. Prior to this, she had only taught elementary school students; teaching middle school was a big change for her. Since cheer depends heavily on communication with teammates, Davis has learned how to work with individuals who have a wide variety of skill sets, which helps her in her teaching.

Davis enjoys teaching middle school students, in comparison to younger kids, as she is able to dive deeper into the sports because the older students have a wider depth of knowledge for more challenging concepts. UPA’s cheer team did not have an official coach for the past three years, and by hiring Davis, the team has an opportunity to enter competitions and cheer—not just at basketball and volleyball games. Davis plans to enter UPA in multiple competitions in the next couple of months such as the USA Northern California Regionals.

 “Spectators at sports games, they’re not used to seeing certain skill levels of cheerleaders when they perform, so it’s surprising to them,”  Davis said. “And I know I’ve heard some people say, ‘Oh, that’s so scary to watch. I can’t believe they didn’t drop them.’ But they practice and they train to be able to do that.”