'Cheer' Stars Gabi Butler and La'Darius Marshall React to Daytona Competition Being Canceled Amid Coronavirus
By Jennifer Drysdale
Monica Aldama with La’Darius Marshall. Image courtesy of Netflix
The Navarro cheer squad won't make it to Daytona this year -- because the whole competition has been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Varsity Spirit announced on Sunday its plan to cancel all scheduled events for "at least the next eight weeks of the 2020 competition season," including the NCA and NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance National Championship. The event was scheduled for April 8 to April 12.
Stars of Netflix's Cheer -- the docuseries that followed the Navarro team's journey to Daytona last year -- took to Instagram to react to the news, with many left heartbroken over losing what could be their last chance at another title.
"I’m gonna miss looking up to you and saying “I’ve got you” I’m gonna miss walking into practice and hugging every single one of you... I’m gonna miss the love from this beautiful team ? I love you guys with all my heart... FIOFMU FOREVER," Gabi Butler wrote.
"This isn't goodbye Navarro 2020 it's see you later," La'Darius Marshall began in his post. "Daytona you will be missed and greatly appreciated. I love [every one] of my teammates and all the love we shared."
"The end of my cheerleading career has come a bit early. For everyone who supported me all this way I want to say thank you and I love you. I'm heartbroken for my team and coaches," he added. "Long live the bright light we all shared together and the countless full-outs we have done to get ready for this competition. I never got to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters but I know we all love each other dearly. To the rest of the world I love you guys and thank you for being our #1 supporters. We love you FIOFMU."
Navarro Cheer coach Monica Aldama commented, "My heart is breaking!!!! I love you forever!!!!"
Shannon Woolsey admitted the news brought "uncontrollable tears."
"As I'm typing this with uncontrollable tears running down my face, I can't help but think about how bad I just want one more performance with Navarro cheer," she shared. "The amount of love I have for this program is indescribable. I never could have imagined the season ending like this. Thanking this program extremely for shaping me into the person I am today, and for being my home away from home. I am so so grateful for every single experience I got to be a part of in the past 3 years. I would never trade any of it for the world. I can't wrap my head around Daytona being cancelled and the season ending way too early, but College cheerleading you did me extremely well & i will miss you more than anything FIOFMU forever and ever. To all the newbies coming to Navarro in the future, treasure the time you have there, you will NEVER get anything like it again."
Aldama said she was "heartbroken" in an Instagram message on March 19, sharing an emotional photo of team members in tears.
"We are in unprecedented times and everyone needs to take precautions for the safety of one another," she wrote. "Because of this pandemic, the Navarro Cheer team's season has come to an end. Sunday evening Varsity made a decision to cancel the NCA Collegiate National Championship in Daytona Beach, FL. This decision was inevitable as things have progressed and our country is in uncertain times. My heart, however, is breaking for the lost memories and the lost time with my beautiful team."
"I was not ready to say goodbye so quickly," she continues. "I was not mentally prepared for the team to turn in uniforms, pack their things and leave town. I want to thank the kids for pouring everything they had into this entire year - for the late nights- the games- the community service- the holidays given up. They are fighters and have always given me 100%. Their routine was so beautiful and their work ethic was bar none. I have always been able to control the narrative and resort to plan B or C or even Z. For the first time in my life I had no control and my life has been a roller coaster over the past week. What I do know is that we will be back better than ever!!! 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
Sunday's statement on Varsity Cheer's website reads: "As you may have seen, the CDC announced their recommendation to cancel or postpone events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. With that recommendation, Varsity Spirit has made the decision to not proceed as planned with scheduled events for at least the next eight weeks. We are actively exploring all options, including rescheduling events, extending the event season, and hosting virtual events."
"We are hopeful this situation will improve, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We will continue to update you with more information as soon as it’s available," the statement continues.
Many events and Hollywood productions have been postponed and canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. See more in the video below.