I am a cheerleader, I’ve been doing cheer since I was three years old and yes, I’ve been bullied because of it.
Just recently I asked 30 people, “What is the first thing you think of when I say cheerleading?”
A few people said pom poms, some said football, randomly one said pizza but the majority said “girls”.
Girls? Really? This can’t be right. Did you know that cheerleading was actually invented by a man and for quite a while only men could do it?
When I started school it wasn’t so bad. Kinder was fine, no bullies, no worries. It was in primary school that it started. Year one… sigh. Bullies were everywhere.
Every day on the playground I’d hear:
“Boys don’t do cheer”
“Why are you doing a girls sport??”
“You should quit cheer and do a real sport.”
To guy cheerleaders everywhere, sounds familiar, right?
This continued on and then in year four and five, the name calling really picked up. Once again i was called a girly cheerleader, gay, even homo were all directed my way.
This left a deep cut. All those comments are what people have actually said to me. It made me feel miserable like I wasn’t good enough. It was like people judged me based solely on the sport I’ve chosen to do. They didn’t even know me beyond cheer. I wished I could just hide from school and stay at home all day.
It made me question whether I should even continue… was it time to quit cheer just to keep the bullies quiet?
So what did I do? I embraced it. Yes, I AM a cheerleader.
Do I love doing cheer? YES
Am I going to let small minded bullies make me quit? NO!!
It’s been hard but I’m not giving up on something I love to do because of other peoples ideas of what they think boys should do.
Cheer has taught me the importance of teamwork, commitment, dedication and hard work. I train ten hours a week and because of this, I am extremely fit and healthy. I can flip and get thrown up into the air in some crazy stunts.
I’ve made some amazing friends and have great role models, both male and female, to look up to. I get to travel all over Australia and see wonderful things but nothing compares to the feeling I get when I walk on to the floor at a competition.
So through all the negativity and the bullying, it leaves me with one question?
Is cheerleading worth it??
And my answer is YES, it absolutely is!!
Believe it or not, this is not a post about bullying.
It’s a post that I hope empowers other young boys to always follow their dreams even though sometimes it can be hard.