Harris, Robinson join cheer team

Cassidy Bonn, Staff Writing

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For decades, cheerleading has been stereotyped as a “woman’s sport.” Sophomores Devin Robinson and Amarrie Harris are working to change that misconception.

Since middle school, Robinson and Harris have played football for the school. Now on varsity, they joined cheerleading this year to meet new people and try a sport that would challenge them in new ways.

“I just wanted to do something different that the average boy does not do,” Harris said.

The last time the team had a male member was in 2001 when Jay Scruggs joined. However, Scruggs didn’t last the whole season because he left the school midway through the year. Robinson and Harris plan on finishing out their seasons with a state title that they have been working towards since early June.

“It opens your mindset,” Harris said. “A lot of people think cheerleading is not a sport, but when you do it, it’s harder than [some other sports].”

For Robinson and Harris, being a male in a female dominated sport can be overwhelming. The boys have to balance a seven hour school day followed by another six hours of both football and cheerleading practice almost every day. During competition season, practices run from Monday through Saturday. By the time they get home, which can be as late as 8 p.m. on school days, they have to focus on academics, leaving little time for rest and relaxation.

“It’s not easy,” Robinson said. “Trying to find time for both is difficult.”

Since joining the team in early June, Robinson and Harris have received a few unsupportive comments from others about their involvement in cheerleading, but they are quick to push any negativity away.

“When I saw them, I told them it was weird, and I told them that it’s something they shouldn’t do, but I was like ‘I’ll support you if you do it,’ “senior football player Antonio Rosier said.

Despite some criticism, the positive reactions outweigh the backlash Robinson and Harris have faced.

“I’m really excited to have the guys on the team this year,” varsity cheerleading coach Joanna Walker said. “They bring a lot of extra energy to the team. Their competitiveness makes the rest of the team really motivated.”

Robinson and Harris’ favorite parts of cheerleading are the competitions and the relationships they have formed with their team. This past summer, the boys attended a cheerleading camp at the University of Central Florida and won titles including “Game Day Champions,” “Rally Camp Champions” and the “Pin It Forward Award.” Varsity Cheerleading also won “Top Banana,” an inflatable banana that represents a spirit stick for the team with the most overall spirit for the entire time of the camp. Coaches and the cheerleaders agree that the outcome of camp would have been different without Robinson’s and Harris’ enthusiasm throughout the week.

“It’s been so fun with them being a part of the team, and we’re really glad they’re part of the team,” Walker said. “We are hoping for a good outcome.”

By going against the “status quo” of what sport a male should play, the boys hope to send a message to others that they don’t need to conform to society’s standards.

“Instead of going to play football or going to play basketball, you should do something where you can [stand out],” Harris said. “Think: ‘what are people going to remember you for?”