Being an athlete at Clemson University is a pretty big deal. With a national championship under our belt last year, and a sweet-sixteen appearance in basketball this year, it’s easy to say we are an elite sports school. And every step of the way along with our football, basketball, volleyball (the list goes on) champion-winning teams are the Clemson cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are the heart and soul of athletes at Clemson, but get the short end of the stick. They spend as much time on their sport as other athletes, but don’t get scholarships, or literally any of the perks the rest do. Don’t believe us? We interviewed a Clemson cheerleader on what it’s like to be the, ahem, black sheep of the Clemson athlete circle.
The Black Sheep: What did it take for you to become a cheerleader here at Clemson University?:
Clemson Cheerleader: There was a competitive three-day tryout in which I had to outperform other worthy athletes. It was a three-part tryout consisting of standing tumbling, running tumbling, stunting, and game day aspect (like cheers and motions and stuff).
What does being a cheerleader mean to you?:
It means representing the school both on and off the field. It’s all about getting involved in the school’s athletics and leaving a legacy on game days.
Do you think you could beat Kelly Bryant in an arm wrestling competition?:
Yeah, I think I could.
Do you ever feel left out of the athletic circle at Clemson?:
Hell yeah! We call ourselves half-letes because that’s what the school considers us as. We don’t get free meal plans, free books, we don’t get priority registration like football or basketball players. We also don’t have our own facility.
How many times throughout the week would you say you absolutely reek of body odor?:
Probably at least once every day. Whether it’s from workouts, practice, a game, or stunting outside of practice the sweat and stink build up pretty consistently.
What do you feel sets you apart from the other athletes at Clemson?:
Uhm… we directly have, as a male cheerleader, I directly have the safety and well-being of another person in my hands; like literally. We make appearances at multiple sports games and activities as well.
As an athlete everyone seems to overlook, what’s your message to our students?:
Don’t second guess our ability, because it’s a lot harder than you probably think.
Cheerleaders work their asses off day in and day out to bring spirit to the teams at Clemson. Our teams wouldn’t be able to go out their kicking ass and taking names the way they do if it wasn’t for their fellow athlete leaders starting the cadence count. Plus, let this linger in your heads as a conclusion… We have more strength on our cheerleading team than the Gamecocks have on their football team. Go Tigers and let’s fucking hear it for our cheerleaders.