- Grove City, Pennsylvania

May 11, 2013

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Competitive cheerleading tough for even manly men

By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Columnist

OPINION — WHEN I THINK OF MYSELF, I think I’m one of the more manly men you’ll find.

I definitely don’t mind eating all kinds of meat and potatoes. I love watching sports — and participating in them when I can.

I do many other things that ‘real’ men do that aren’t fit for print and proper readers.

What I don’t do is wear skinny jeans or other tight-fitting clothes. I don’t wear jewelry nor do I wear colors that lean more to the femine side than the masculine side.

Over the past five months, I found myself doing something that at one point in the time I would’ve considered very girly — cheerleading.

Not the rah, rah shish coom bah type of cheerleading you find at football games where the cheerleaders are in neat and tidy rows.

That kind of cheerleading is still very girly to this manly man, but there certainly isn’t anything wrong with it.

Instead, I got involved in competitive cheerleading with the parent team with The Rockers — the competitive cheer team my daughter Maddyn cheers for — mainly for her amusement.

The funny thing is I quickly found out I wasn’t very good at cheerleading — I‘m not flexible enough to do a very good toe touch nor was my party jump very graceful.

I vividly remember texting my wife during our first parent team practice that I wasn’t cut out for cheerleading, but I stuck it out because I didn’t want my daughter to see quitting as an option when things weren’t easy.

As it turns out, we weren’t competing to win awards — although we did capture a handful of first places — but solely as entertainment so my lack of grace added to the laugh factor.

I also found out just how athletic you have to be to do some of the moves needed to look even halfway decent on the mat — I tried to do a cartwheel during a tumbling pass and nearly executed a tackle on a teammate that would’ve made Jack Lambert, Greg Lloyd or James Harrison smile.

So our coaches found a perfect spot for me — as a base or a back spot on mounts.

No grace or agility were needed to be a base just some brute strength and proper technique — something the manly man inside of me could live with if I were going to perform on a mat in front of hundreds if not thousands of spectators.

I also discovered the basket toss, which entails two bases locking their hands on the other’s forearms to form a square onto a lighter person is placed and then ‘tossed’ into the air.

I found some manly bliss in the basket toss, wondering how high my partner Lee Yeager and I could get our flyer into the air, so that we could possibly get her higher than the time before.

Not to pat myself on the back, but our basket toss was so good and we got our flyer so high in the air that we had so many judges comment on the air we got.

That my friends is what a manly man like myself can hang his hat on and justify doing something we once considered a very ‘girly’ endeavor.

Agree, disagree or just want to comment? Contact Corey at