STU student can’t do, but she can teach

IMG_9959When Michelle Spavold injured her back midway through her cheerleading career, she tried not to let it affect her spirit. Now, she is paying the price.

“Every day, I wake up and feel like I need a cane in the morning,” said Spavold.

Spavold kept cheering until her body couldn’t keep up anymore. She admits that not seeking treatment for her physical ailments when she could made recovery a lost cause.

But now, the third-year St. Thomas student is spreading cheer through a different way — as the UNB Reds cheerleading coach.

Spavold took over the team this year after the previous coaches moved away. She helped coach the Reds last season, after being approached by another athlete while she was helping coach a competitive team in Fredericton.

As a coach, she can still demonstrate moves, but she can’t exercise for a long time without feeling some kind of pain.

Spavold’s assistant coach, Rebecca O’Donnell, also has cheered while injured. This has led the duo to emphasize safety and care.

“We won’t move on to another lesson until that’s clear because we understand the pain and don’t want people to have the same problems we do,” Spavold said.

Spavold hails from Nova Scotia, while O’Donnell is a native of New Brunswick. Spavold said the names of some moves and techniques differ between provinces, which makes learning harder for some athletes.

“Some people come into it thinking they’ve never done something before and they’re apprehensive at first,” she said. “When they realize we’re doing something better or more efficient, they like it.”

Spavold recognizes the rivalry between UNB and STU, sometimes referred to as the Battle of the Hill. She said it’s most prevalent when teams from both campuses meet in hockey.

However, she doesn’t notice any hard feelings with coaching a team at UNB while attending STU, which includes students from both campuses.

“We’re hoping to take part in more STU events this year,” she said.

Spavold thinks STU having its own team would be too selective, and there’s more interest at a larger campus like UNB. She thinks by  including STU and UNB students on the team brings both campuses together.

The Reds will take part in an (WHAT EVENT?) event on Feb. 8 at the Richard J. Currie Centre and another from Feb. 21 to 22 at the Fredericton Convention Centre.

They also compete in Saint John from March 17-18, along with the Atlantic Cheer Expo Grand Championships from April 18-19 in Halifax.

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    What is the event??

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