By Madee McGill

I’ve been dancing almost all my life, and I’ve been a fan of the University of Oklahoma Sooners just as long. As a member of the OU Pom Squad, I get to combine those 2 great passions and put my spirit on display every time we take the field or court.

My love for the crimson and cream runs deep. I grew up in the tiny town of Ada, Oklahoma, and my dad took me to Sooner football and basketball games all the time. OU was the only school I applied to because it’s the only place I ever wanted to go. But getting accepted here was just the first step. Making the Pom Squad was a dream come true.

We have to try out for the squad each year, and the competition is always tough. I’ll never forget making the cut for the first time my freshman year. My dance teacher knew I’d made it, but she made me sweat it out. She wouldn’t let me look at my phone all through practice and kept delaying my efforts to learn my fate. Finally, she let me in on the secret. I was in, and I was ecstatic.

Our squad is an extension of the team on the court. Our purpose is to get our fans pumped up and help win the game. Just like the players, we put a lot of practice in throughout the week. As dancers, we’re always working to strengthen our legs and core. And we do a lot of stretching to stay limber.

At each of our practices, we also work on our cheers and the timing of our dance routines. We’re representing the university, so we have very high standards. Just like the team on the court, we strive for perfect execution every time.

On game days, I start getting ready about 3 hours beforehand. I lay out all the pieces of my uniform and my shoes. We have 10 different uniform combinations, so I need to make sure I have it right. I also spend time on hair and makeup. It’s a process, but one that I always look forward to.

When I get to the arena, I meet with other members of the squad and we run through our routines one last time. Next, we gather together and say a little prayer. Then, it’s game on!

When we enter the arena, I always have butterflies in my stomach. It’s noisy. It’s chaotic. And we’re there to make it even noisier and more chaotic. That’s what I’m all about!

We’re no strangers to NCAA March Madness®. The last 2 years, we traveled to support the women’s basketball team in the tournament. I like to think we bring the home court advantage everywhere we go. We Sooners travel very well.

Boomer Sooner! Let the madness begin.

Madee McGill is a junior at the University of Oklahoma and third-year member of the OU Pom Squad.

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