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- Gabi Butler is one of the breakout stars of Netflix’s popular docuseries “Cheer,” which focused on the prestigious cheerleading squad at Navarro College in Texas.
- Speaking to Insider, Butler opened up about the “devastating” cancellation of the National Cheer Association (NCA) and National Dance Alliance’s (NDA) 2020 College Nationals, held in Daytona each year.
- “It was heartbreaking and devastating when we all found out that Daytona was canceled,” Butler said, adding that she understood the importance of canceling the competition amid the pandemic.
- Butler also spoke about how she has video calls with members of the Navarro squad regularly, and about how she’s excited to partner with Playtex Sport to support female athletes.
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“Cheer” star Gabi Butler opened up to Insider about the “heartbreaking” cancellation of the NCA and NDA’s 2020 college nationals, and how she’s staying in touch with her Navarro College teammates during quarantine.
Like other college cheerleading teams, the Navarro squad was looking forward to competing in the cheerleading championship in Daytona this April. It was ultimately canceled to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“It was heartbreaking and devastating when we all found out that Daytona was canceled, just because it’s something that happens once a year, and it’s like one of the most amazing times in the cheer season,” Butler told Insider.
“It obviously pulled my heartstrings into a bunch of pieces. But I think it had to be done because they’re trying to reduce the risk of getting the virus.”
Butler rose to fame as a breakout star of Netflix’s popular docuseries “Cheer,” which focused on the elite and ultra-competitive cheerleading squad at Navarro College in Texas. Butler, along with her teammates, quickly became pop-culture sensations after the show premiered earlier this year.
And with little to no options available professionally to competitive cheerleaders of Navarro’s caliber after college, this year’s championship would have been a bittersweet sendoff for senior cheerleaders in their final season of the sport.
But Butler told Insider she’s taking the whole thing in stride, and is still focusing on bolstering her career despite Daytona’s cancellation.
“I’ve definitely been dealing with it in the best way I possibly can,” she said. “It is a little unfortunate, but I think that in life we do get challenges thrown at us. It really just depends on how bad you want it and how bad you will work for it.”
According to the cheerleader, her disappointment at the cancellation of Daytona (and its implications for senior athletes who won’t get the chance to compete in another season after they graduate this year) was one of the reasons she decided to partner with Playtex Sport.
Butler hosted the brand’s virtual “Senior Night” on Thursday – an Instagram live celebration of female athletes who didn’t get to finish their final season the way they envisioned due to the pandemic.
“I’m an athlete myself, and I know how badly that sucks. And it hurts to not be able to celebrate the end of your career, because that’s like the best part,” Butler said.
Despite the numerous setbacks she and the rest of the Navarro team are facing, however, the athlete told Insider that she’s staying positive, and has “definitely been keeping in touch” with her teammates as they quarantine separately across the country.
“I’m constantly talking to a bunch of them, but I do keep in touch with Jerry [Harris], and Ladarius [Marshall], and Lexi [Brumback] for sure,” Butler told Insider.
“They’re all doing great. I actually just FaceTimed Jerry like a week ago and he just makes me laugh. He always puts a big smile on my face,” she added.
Butler also spoke about the challenges she and her teammates have faced as they adjust from a rigorous training schedule to socially-distanced exercise.
“I am an athlete so I can’t just completely take, like, a four month break and then expect to jump right back into it the way I was,” she revealed. “I’m definitely going to have to keep my endurance and stamina up.”
“For the most part I just really try to work out maybe 30 minutes a day, at least, whether it’s going on a walk around my neighborhood or going on a run, or a bike ride, or rollerblading,” Butler added.
Overall, though, the cheerleading champion told Insider that she’s staying positive, and is trying to keep an open mind in regards to her future opportunities.
“I never thought college cheer would be something that I would be involved with, but it turns out, it was the best thing I could have done,” Butler said. “I’m not really sure where I’m going to go, but I’m definitely gonna keep my mind open to whatever life throws at me.”
- Read more:
- Athletes on Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ captivated audiences with their stunts, tumbles, and routines. Here’s what they’re up to now.
- Watch the Navarro cheerleaders perform a full-out version of their iconic routine from ‘Cheer’ on ‘The Ellen Show’
- A play-by-play look at how the ‘Cheer’ athletes accidentally dropped a teammate, and what was supposed to happen instead
- Jerry from ‘Cheer’ giving ‘mat talk’ to people arriving at work will make your whole day