Many girls are often teased and told that cheerleading is “not a sport, just a hobby” and guys who cheer are often made fun of for joining a cheer team in the first place. However, in the last decade, cheerleading has seen a dramatic increase in the number of participants, especially males. This year, Timber Creek High School has three male cheerleaders on the Varsity team.
Junior Alec Garza, told Talon that he cheers because, for him, “it’s different than any other sport.” Garza’s story started Freshman year when he played football for Timber Creek. He explained that he enjoyed football and continued to play his sophomore year as well, but during the cheer team’s competition season last year, he saw the team go through a heartbreaking loss. When his friend and current teammate Derek Campbell came off the mat, Garza promised he would join the team the following year and do whatever it takes to make sure they won.
Garza cheered on All-Stars teams for three years prior to high school and said he had no trouble getting back in the swing of things. Contrary to the other boys on the team, Garza said that the kids at school do not tease him for being a cheerleader. He further explained that because he was a football player first, the students still have the same respect for him.
“Cheering on the sidelines has been better than actually playing on the field,” Garza said. He also explained that he has a dream of cheering at Texas Christian University, and plans to get a scholarship through cheerleading so he is able to attend.
Garza, along with Campbell and Alex Lebeouf, had great things to say about the talent the team possess this year.
Lebeouf said that they, “have a lot of good tumblers and stunt groups. There’s also a lot of experience so if [they] can all learn to work as a team rather than individuals then [they] should do really well in competition season.”
The boys also all agreed on the atmosphere of the cheer room and what it was like being with so many girls. Campbell stated that they “get in arguments sometimes” but at the end of the day “they always come back together” because they “treat each other like brothers and sisters.”
Lebeouf said that sometimes there is an isolation between the guys and girls because “the girls all have their different cliques” and “there’s a lot more drama than there ever was in gymnastics.” However, each agreed that usually being around the girls wasn’t too difficult. Garza said that being around the girls actually helps him get girls.
When it comes to practice the team meets almost every day after school for about two hours. The guys said that in practice cheerleading is more intense for the girls because they’re expected to not only tumble, but stunt, jump, and dance as well. This is different from the boys, because for the most part they just tumble.
They all said they were enjoying being cheerleaders for Timber Creek and that as long as they were getting to participate in what they loved, then it didn’t really matter to them if the rest of the school didn’t think it was a “real” sport — especially for guys.