On March 25th 2017, the Spirit Fever Open, took place for the 5th time in Morges VD, Switzerland. Apart from teams from all over Switzerland, teams from Germany and France made the long journey all the way to Morges, VD to compete at the Spirit Fever Open Championship. Over 15 cheerleading teams performed their routines on that Saturday. The first place in both main categories, Senior Allgirl Cheer and Senior Coed Cheer, went to Germany with United Cheer Berlin and the Shadow Allstars. The reigning Swiss Champions, the FCSG Cheerleader from St. Gallen and the Capital Hornets from Bern followed them. Therefore, the hierarchy between the Swiss teams seems to remain unchanged. However, the level of difficulty and execution within all the routines show a continuous rise and therefore promise a close race for the upcoming title for the Swiss National Championship in May. „The knowledge and skill level across the country is getting better and better each year I come back to visit“, notes Kali Seitzer, judge at the competition and coach at the camp. But not only the performances in the cheer categories have increased, also the dance categories have shown more participants. With exciting choreographies in Hip Hop, Freestyle and Jazz, the dancers warmed up the crowd at the beginning of the event. Followed by the peewee and junior cheer categories and later in the afternoon by the senior teams. Athletes of all ages between five and thirty years old performed their routines in front of an admiring crowd of fans, parents and supporters. Compared to competitions in the USA or Canada, the crowds are very small, but that doesn’t mean they support their athletes any less. „Cheerleading in Switzerland is still a very young sport for the culture. It’s going to take time for the awareness of the sport to spread and for the respect to build, just like it has in other countries“, explains Seitzer.
With more and more teams competing at the Spirit Fever Open each year, the event has grown, not only in significance but also in complexity and effort for its hosts. Nevertheless, the organizers use their experience and the feedback from previous years to improve the event and coordinate it more efficiently. They were able to stay on time and elegantly solved the few problems that occurred during the long day. „They were very organized, the staff of SFO are extremely hardworking and amazing to work with“, says Seitzer. As an experienced judge and coach, Seitzer has been working with Spirit Fever for many years now. The team USA alumna compliments the organizers further: „I always enjoy my experience at Spirit Fever Open.“ As always, after a long day of competition the teams were ready to party on the mat while waiting for the results, enjoying the fun competitions and dancing together. This SFO-tradition has proven to be a highlight for many athletes, as it gives them the opportunity to let loose and get to know their peers from the other teams. The cheerleading community in Switzerland is growing but still very small, and because of that a lot of the athletes have gotten to know each other over the years and every competition is like a little reunion.
After the awards ceremony some of the teams stayed in Morges for the upcoming camp the next day. Instructed by Kali Seitzer they had the chance to learn many new skills and tricks but also improve their basic techniques. „The Camp was awesome! We had a lot of fun teaching skills and almost all athletes tried something they had never done before“, so Seitzer. „The only thing I would wish for is for the athletes to be more motivated in perfecting their basic techniques before wanting to try the harder skills. It’s the key to success in this sport.“ As of now, everyone is excited to see how the teams have improved over the two months between the Spirit Fever Open and the Swiss Championship on May 20th in Bern. For many teams it will be their last competition this season and everyone will bring their A-game to impress the judges and the crowd. After the performances at the SFO, the Swiss Championship promises to be a thrilling finale.