A pyramid of spirit

Photo Courtesy of Tyler ASU's Spirit Squad in action. Photo Courtesy of Tyler Murphy

Give me an A! Give me an S! Give me a U! ASU!

Thousands of fans gather in the Sun Devil Stadium to help cheer on the Arizona State football team. People in the stands don’t just get to watch a game, they get to participate.

ASU’s Spirit Squad is a co-ed cheerleading team that helps create an ecstatic environment. Sparky’s Crew is the men’s stunting side of the squad. These eight men help motivate the crowd and are the muscles in the Spirit Squad.

Throughout the week the team prepares for the game with their structure practices.They work on pushing their skills and different performances for the game during their three practices.

“I’ve had season tickets since I was little so I’ve always been going with my folks,” says business management junior Tyler Murphy. “So now it’s fun getting to be on the field.”

After practicing during the week, Sparky’s Crew meets up with the rest of the squad hours prior to the game to warm-up.

The squad has no designated area to warm up, so they just look for a flat surface to practice their stunts.

The Squad warms up with some one-man stunts where a Sparky's Crew member lifts one of the other dancers. Afterward, the team gathers with the rest of their squad, the marching team and color guard. Before leaving the Wells Fargo Arena, the squad helps pump up the crowd.

The band is playing, the color guards are spinning and Sparky’s Crew is busting out pin wheels — the guys spin the girls, known as flyers, in a clockwise motion in the air.

This pep rally energizes the fans and pumps up the football team to set them into game mode.

“Being in front of all the fans and being on the field and just pumping everyone up is my favorite part about cheering during the games,” industrial design freshman Joshua Bourdreau says. “It’s awesome seeing how people react to our stunts.”

After rallying the team, Sparky’s Crew gets ready for game time.

Right as the game is about to start, the team warms up their stunts again.

“Baskets are one of the coolest during the games because they're so high and so cool, everyone can see it,” criminal justice and criminology sophomore Caleb Moldrem says. “It’s one of those stunts that draws your eyes to it, it’s just so fun.”

At the beginning of the game, Sparky’s Crew pumps up the crowd on the field as they wait for the team to run out. The Crew chants out cheers and carries the ASU flags across the field. As the football teams runs out, the squad sprints out, making way for the players.

The Spirit Squad is divided into three sections of the field. The dancers of the squad are split in two separate corners of the field. Sparky’s Crew focuses on the stunts and crowd encouragement, while the away team has the empty corner.

They grab their megaphones and start a chant to create a human pyramid.

As the football team gets closer to a touchdown, Sparky’s Crew continues to energize audience. With the band in the background, everyone is already starting a commotion.

“I love when the team scores, the stands always get crazy,” criminal justice junior Rayne Randall says. “The guys are really good at getting ready for that and help getting the crowd rowdier.”

ASU Spirit Squad during the Sun Devil vs. Utah Utes game. Photo by Giselle Vazquez. ASU Spirit Squad dancers during the Sun Devil vs. Utah Utes game. Photo by Giselle Vazquez.

During half-time, Sparky’s Crew takes a short break as the dancers of the squad perform with the band. Afterward, the Crew goes out to the field again to welcome back the players and continue their performance.

Just like the first and second quarter, the crew changes corners. Continuing to lead chants and stunts.

As the team continues to score, Sparky’s Crew also continues to entertain the crowd.

When the football team makes a touchdown, the crew lifts up Sparky on a construction board. Sparky does push-ups based on the score while the crew continues to hold the board. The crowd counts for Sparky with excitement.

“I like be able to be in font of the student section,” industrial designs sophomore Aj Jackson says . Moldrem adds on, “You can’t really compare it to anything else, it’s electric.”

Reach the writer at gvazque3@asu.edu and via Twitter @iamgisellevr.

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