Is there an easier target for ridicule than a male cheerleader? We can’t think of many. Maybe a Hitler sympathizer? A NAMBLA spokesperson? John Waters’ mustache? Mimes? It’s definitely a short list. The male cheerleader, by nature, is overcome by haters. Which is understandable considering the most famous male cheerleader of all time is Craig from “The Spartans”. Will Ferrell did to male cheerleading what Billy Ray Cyrus did to mullets.
In this week’s edition of Don’t Hate, we go to bat for the last person anybody would think to rescue from a burning stadium, the male cheerleader.
5. Because They Invented the Damn Sport
For the sake of this article, we’ll call cheerleading a sport. Way back in 1898 a guy by the name of Johnny Campbell was watching a Minnesota Golden Gophers football game on the sideline, and figured the team needed some extra encouragement. Deciding that, dammit, he got spirit, yes he do, Campbell turned to the crowd and started conducting and coordinating cheers. And just like that, cheerleading was born…from a dude.
Women didn’t really become part of the cheerleading equation until about two decades later due to the limited number of female collegiate sports available at the time, and all the men being drafted into WWI. But gradually, they took it over. Oh man, did they take it over. They took it over, and jerk-off fantasies would never be the same. Kelly Kapowski, Claire Bennet, Lyla Garrity, Quinn Fabray…maybe never would’ve happened without male cheerleaders who did it first.
4. Because They Have To Stand up to The Man Too, Sometimes
Fun fact: it is actually possible for guys to get college cheerleading scholarships along with girls. But since the man is a hater by choice, sometimes guy cheerleaders have to fight the good fight to not be left out in the cold. Case in point: back in 2003, the state of Michigan declared that only all-female cheer teams could compete in national high school tournaments and competitions.
Since national competitions are the main way for cheerleaders to get noticed by college scouts (fun fact: colleges have cheerleading scouts, apparently), this left the all male cheerleaders in Michigan high schools hoping to get scouting exposure in a bit of a quandary. But did they take it lying down, like a bunch of pansies?
Well, sort of. The ACLU did threaten a sex discrimination lawsuit against the state, but as far as we know (or care to research) it never amounted to anything. But whatever, it’s the thought that counts. The thought that America is so kick ass about gender equality that our sex discrimination lawsuits go both ways. Both ways! Suck on that, Yemen!
3. Because it Can Be a Pretty Heavy Responsibility
Cheerleading can be pretty dangerous. Not for guys, obviously, but for girls. What with all the flips, twirls, throws, eating disorders, stealing cheers from inner-city black schools and whatnot. High school cheer leading has accounted for 65% of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years. Hell, there have even been a few deaths. It’s not really that surprising considering how national competitions and increased exposure have forced the activity to become more and more acrobatic.
Guys are on cheerleading squads for basically the sole purpose of making sure girls don’t fall on their heads and break their necks. Because according to those statistics, that’s exactly what can happen if one of them can’t maintain their balance while they’re trying to do stuff like catch a girl on her way down from a 20 foot basket toss, or hoist her up and hold her upright with one arm under one foot.
It can’t be easy holding the fate of a hot girl in your hands while everybody else can sit on their ass and enjoy the game. If a kicker misses a field goal, he loses the game and get’s booed. If a male cheerleader drops a girl on her head, he loses his balls in the ensuing lynch mob.
2. Because Samuel L. Jackson Was a Cheerleader
And if we’re going to rattle off other famous guys who were cheerleaders, we might as well include Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, Steve Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Trent Lott, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Aaron Spelling, Kirk & Michael Douglas and Thad Cochran. That’s four presidents, four acting legends, one of the most influential TV producers of the past 25 years, and two senators.
But they all might as well be girl scouts selling mint thins compared to “when I lay my vengeance upon thee” Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson – a man so badass he made the Jherifro look badass. Samuel L. Jackson – a man so badass, he was badass before he was badass. Example: when Jackson was in college, he and his Black Panther pals once held the Board of Trustees at Morehouse College hostage to try and institute curriculum reforms. The FBI even knew him by name.
There it is. Samuel L. Jackson. Proof that there is no contradiction between male cheerleading and general badassery.
1. Because let’s play a little game called which one’s gayer…
Which brings us to our final point – male cheerleaders are gay. Or male cheerleading is gay. Or guys that go out for cheerleading are by default fruits with no stomach for man-stuff. Something along those lines, right? That’s the perception? That’s the haterade, in a nutshell?
Well, if you can think of a better way to get next to a cheerleader (assuming you’re not a star athlete), we’d like to hear it, hoss. Sure, that kind of team bonding is probably frowned upon, but so are steroids in baseball. Male cheerleaders can do things with their hands during games and competitions that might get you locked up if you did the same thing on a street corner. Doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal to us.