[December 2017] Cheerleading team surpasses gender stereotype

Julia Lombardo ’20

At many high schools, cheerleading consists solely of teenage girls, dressed up in short skirts with pom poms and bows. While this may be a common stereotype, this season, the Staples cheerleading team defied this frequent misperception. Having two boys, Louis Pinto ’19 and Odin Bartie ’19, join the team, the Wreckers have begun to prove that not only are males allowed to participate in the sport, but can also have a major impact on the team’s success.

“I decided to join the cheer team because I wanted to do it my freshman year and I never got to,” Pinto said. “A lot of the guys said things like ‘that’s gay’ and made many other immature remarks.”

While Bartie chose not to comment on the subject, Pinto expressed his feelings on joining. He explained that since freshman year, he had a passion for cheerleading yet didn’t have the courage to pursue it due to the insults made by others. Finally, in his junior year, Pinto decided to ignore the negative opinions and comments and try out. “Once I got to junior year I was like, ‘you know what, screw everyone else’s opinion,’” Pinto said. “It’s my life let me do what I want.”

While this decision was extremely hard for Pinto, he enjoys every minute of stunting and tumbling with his fellow cheerleaders. “It’s so much work and honestly, before I joined, I always kind of thought it’s just dancing and throwing tucks,” he said. “Being on the team is a new realization and real appreciation for the sport.”

Through all of the challenges Pinto had to face, his teammates support him and enjoy having him on the team. “Having the boys on the team is great; they are hard working and get along with everyone,” captain Jenna Doran ’18 said. “Since they are stronger than most of the girls on the team, they really help make our stunts more stable and easier to do.”

While the boys and girls both had to adjust to this change, they see a lot of hope in the future. “I think they are a great addition to the team because it puts us into a new division,” cheerleader Emily Putman ’19 said. “Being in this division should better our chances of winning.”

As the competition season grows closer by the day, Pinto cannot wait for the new experiences ahead. He explained that joining the team was more than just for the love of the sport, but to also show pride in himself.

“Having the courage to join the team has brought a new realization into my life that I’m going to do what I want. I want to have fun and I’m going to do cheer,” Pinto explained. “If anyone has any opinions on it, it’s theirs, I have my own opinion on it.”