The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    From the sidelines to competition

    Patiently, they kneel on the sidelines, waiting for their moment – and then it happens. The buzzer sounds, and they raise their arms and lift their partners over their heads for a twisting, twirling stunt.

    Although you may have seen them as you walk into Zorn Arena for a Blugold basketball game, you might not know exactly who they are.

    The stuntmen on the UW-Eau Claire cheer and stunt team, one of the many club sports on campus, are the men holding the cheerleaders up in the air as they do their stunts.

    “It is ridiculous to think that I can actually hold another human above my head with only one hand,” sophomore Nick King said. King is a member of the executive board of the cheer and stunt team this season.

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    “I love getting the crowd pumped up and involved in the game,” senior Scott Andrews said. “Otherwise, it seems like they don’t take interest and aren’t really supporting
    their team.”

    The cheer and stunt team is broken up into two different squads – the sideline squad and the competition squad. Stuntmen on both squads are required to have a good sense of balance, as well as strength and a positive
    attitude. The stuntmen of the competition
    squad need to be able to tumble as well
    as stunt.

    “In sideline, our job is to support the team,” King said. “In competition, we are the team. Cheerleading is a sport like any other, and it takes just as much hard work, dedication and skill as any other sport out there.”

    Cheerleading demands all the physical exertion of other sports. It requires rigorous excercise and definitely keeps team members in shape, King said.

    “I joined the team because I wanted to stay active,” he said. “I also love to compete, and being with a team that practices hard and wants the same things (as I do) is what I live for.”

    Andrews agreed with King and said being a stuntman on the cheer and stunt team keeps him very active and helps him stay in shape.

    “I’m a marathon runner,” he said, “and this definitely helps me stay in shape physically, especially during the winter months.”

    On Feb. 23, the cheer and stunt team headed off to the United Performing Association AmeriCup Cheer & Dance Championship, which was held in Minneapolis. The team did quite well at the tournament but ran into one snag that held them down, King said.

    The team committed a safety violation, which occurred in one of its stunts when a girl did a front flip without the proper number of people on the floor to catch her.

    “Cheerleading competitions work differently than most sports,” King said. “Each competition is put on by a different company, and with each company comes a new and different set of rules. There are stunts that are perfectly legal at one competition (that) can be illegal at another.”

    There are a lot of stereotypes regarding men as cheerleaders, but Andrews said the people who say that just don’t understand.

    “This sport takes a lot of time and effort because of how complex it is, regardless of the sex of the person,” he said. “A lot of people told me that they would never do it, but they said that they wouldn’t do it because it seemed too difficult and strenuous.”

    As the cheerleaders complete their stunts, the stuntmen below them catch them
    with total accuracy, and the crowd erupts
    into cheer. The job of the stuntmen
    is complete – until the next game break.

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    From the sidelines to competition