McALESTER — Growing up in Athens, Ga., Sarah White and her family watched a lot of football. Her family moved to McAlester when she was 9, and White so loved football that when she reached junior high, she tried out for cheerleading.
Now a senior and captain, White has been a Lady Buff cheerleader for six consecutive years.
“It is such a rush,” White said Friday.
“Having the entire town — this is a small town — having literally the entire team staring out you, and literally being right next to the game, it’s such a thrill. You almost get to lead the game, like the attitude of it. Say (in) the game, we’re losing. We can influence the crowd, get them cheering. The boys hear that and it ups their spirits.”
White said her family moved here in 2005 because her father, Doug White, got a job as a HAZMAT instructor at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. With no family in the area, White said it was a difficult transition at first, but dance classes at Angie’s Dance Plus helped.
“I’ve been in dance since I was 3 years old, so I’ve done that all my life,” White said.
“It gives you friends as soon as you get here. It helps you be social and be involved in things.”
White still takes class at Angie’s. She also teaches tumbling and cheer.
White’s new social circle included fellow Lady Buffs cheerleader Taylor Burmeier. Burmeier previously danced for McAlester’s Pom squad, but this year switched to cheerleading.
“I helped in that decision,” White said, laughing.
“She’s one of my very close friends, so it’s just one more thing that we get to do together.”
White said she originally tried out for cheer because of she always loved performing. One of the team’s top girls — also called flyers — her seventh-grade year, White switched to base and backspot a year later and stuck with those positions through to her senior year.