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Interview With The Male Cheerleader, Part 3: Most Memorable Games and Experiences

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Thanks for once again tuning in, today to witness Part 3 of our NOBEL PRIZE WINNING FIESTA with the greatest Male Cheerleader in Hoyas history.  In case you are just joining the party, here is Part 1 and here is Part 2.

One Male Symbol.

What is the most memorable crowd you have ever had the pleasure of cheering in front of?

The best game crowd I had the pleasure of cheering in front of at Verizon, was in the overtime win against Syracuse in Roy, John, and Pat’s last year on the team. Syracuse travels well to Verizon, as unfortunately most half-way decent teams tend to, but fortunately the crowd responded that night. There was just enough of a Syracuse presence to keep people on edge and a bit combative that evening. If I’m remembering correctly we had the longest We Are Georgetown chant going that I’ve ever been a part of (though the best had to have been started by Coach Thompson after beating UNC). I also should mention that for three of my four years, we had great crowds for the Big East Tournament, everyone usually waits to come up until after the first and second rounds, but when we made it into the latter rounds, the crowds were always great, and it presents a challenge to work in a different environment without the same students standing behind you; it makes it all the more a challenge and thus all the more fulfilling when you get the job done.

More Part 3 after The Jump:

What are your most memorable moments as a Hoyas cheerleader?

We had a lot of athletic successes in most sports during my time as a Georgetown male cheerleader, so there are a lot of what I hope will be big moments in Georgetown athletic history from the past four years including Roy’s three to beat Connecticut, beating Syracuse in the Big East Tournament this past year, the foul on Jonathan Wallace against Villanova, and this past years improbable 2nd half comeback against Connecticut just to name a few. Here’s my personal top three:

  1. Meeting President Obama and Vice-President Biden before the Duke game – I always thought we might get a chance to have a game in front of the President of the United States, but going into senior year it still hadn’t happened, and on top of that the Duke game was and is always such a big game on the schedule, it was just amazing to run off the court with the flag, be surrounded by the secret service, and then all of a sudden have the President and Vice President walking right towards you. I should also mention that I got to meet Senator McCain the previous year, not long after the inauguration if I remember correctly. The game made the moment all the better, as I don’t think I’d seen that kind of all out win in all aspects of the game since the year we had gone to the Final Four.
  2. The Road to the Final Four – As a freshman, I was really just settling in to being the male cheerleader and had no real grasp that we could actually be in a championship game, and with the exception of a few hopefuls in the fan base, I don’t think anyone started that season thinking we’d end up at the Final Four. As many big moments as there were throughout the tournament, Ewing’s dunk on Jared Dudley against BC, Green’s heroics against Vanderbilt, and Wallace’s three against UNC, the whole experience was just amazing. It was like being a rockstar, literally every week you were in a different city in front of a sold out arena.
  3. Winning the Big East Tournament – Again as a freshman, it was my first trip to New York City since I was about six years-old, and we just ran the other team off the court in every game that tournament with the exception of Notre Dame, which was an amazing game in and of itself.

Do you hear stuff the fans yell? If so, what's the funniest thing you've heard from the stands?

The best interaction we have with fans has got to be the T-Shirt toss. Although the Chipotle Burrito Dash is a close second, people will literally say anything to try and get a free t-shirt, which I should mention most of them already have. The most intense name calling came after I gave a t-shirt to a kid in the first row as opposed to hurling it up to the rafters, one fan launched into a tirade in which I was accused of having no backbone cause I gave in to the kid's demands for the shirt and as I recall finished by calling me a communist. Completely honest disclaimer: we do as good a job as possible to freely and fairly distribute the t-shirt allotment at games, but unfortunately only have a small amount to distribute; however, we do not intend to endorse any political ideology in the process.

How far can you toss a t-shirt into the stands? Do you practice your throwing motion in the mirror at home?

I never practiced my throwing motion at all, in fact I couldn’t tell you the last time I threw a baseball, I’m just more of a football and basketball guy, but it was always an accomplishment to get one into the second level. The DC Lottery Gatling Gun also made the t-shirt toss a lot more fun and I always had a lot of fun seeing which side could get louder for that last t-shirt.

Ah, the Gatling Gun at Verizon. Talk to us a bit about your experience with it, what it has done to revolutionize the t-shirt toss, and whether or not you have ever fantasized about turning it loose on our opponent's bench.

It’s funny you should mention turning it loose. The secret service actually banned us from using the Gatling Gun when the President and Vice President came, so apparently it must have a setting for lethal force that I don’t think they’ve used yet.

Have you ever worn your uniform out at night in Georgetown? Have you ever been able to cut the line at a kegger solely due to your status as male cheerleader?

Wearing uniforms out, or really just about anywhere other than to and from a game or team activity is strictly against the rules. It really shouldn’t even have to be a rule, because it’s simply that bad of an idea. Both in and out of uniform you still represent the school, and to many people you’re the second most seen group on the court next to the basketball team. The uniform is a symbol of the University, and just as you wouldn’t want someone to tarnish the University, you shouldn’t ever put yourself in a position where that can so easily happen by going out in your uniform. Popularity wise, being a male cheerleader definitely has it’s benefits, I joke with people that I get more court time than most of the bench. In short people recognize you, and whether it’s getting into a party or even getting asked for an autograph while you’re on a date the past four years were a lot of fun both in and out of uniform.

Do you feel that sometimes your efforts are undermined when the Hoyas are down 20 in the 1st half?

On the contrary, I think that’s when our efforts are all the more important. When you get down early, it’s very easy to lose the fans, and really once people sit down you’ve just about lost them for the game, barring a comeback, which usually takes the crowd a few minutes to recognize. Coach Thompson talks about how the team can feed off the energy of the crowd so in those waning moments when things aren’t looking good, that’s really when you kick it into high gear.

How do you feel about the in-game promotions? Do you ever get caught up in who should win Fan of the Game?

I’m pretty unbiased in fan of the game, but I love picking the winner of the dress like a Hoya contest, and I always made sure to let my guy know I was rooting for him. I probably picked the winner about 50% of the time. Overall in-game promotions are what they are, and really just become another part of the game. There one of the hardest things for male cheerleaders to deal with cause it’s kind of a moment for this inauthentic enthusiasm about something that really has little to do with the game. Most of us especially don’t like when the camera just flashes to us when the game is stopped because you just have to turn a smile on all of a sudden regardless of the score, and you’re very much awkwardly excited that there’s a timeout on the floor. Unless you’re doing something, throwing someone in the air or tumbling, male cheerleaders tend to try and avoid those moments; the one exception being at this past years Big East Tournament during the Syracuse game, when the cameraman kept turning to me after just about every big play. We sit literally almost on top of the camera crew in Madison Square Garden and I was his easiest shot, but fortunately he pretty much always got my immediate reaction which given how the game turned out wasn’t so bad.

Do ever look across at the opponent's cheerleaders and think 'damn they're really good.' If so, which Big East squad (or any squad) has the best cheerleaders?

We only share the court with opposing cheerleaders at Tournament games, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment when all of a sudden you only get half the timeouts as usual, and as I mentioned earlier no one wants to get shown up by the other team. Typically you watch what they’re doing and figure out what you’re going to do to try and top them. Nine times out of ten, good cheerleading schools are also big football schools, so some of the better cheerleading squads in the conference come from Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Louisville.

Has an opposing coach or player said anything to you?

It doesn’t happen to often, but it does happen. You should never yell anything negative during a game no matter who it’s directed to, but that’s not saying you can’t yell. Usually during games at Verizon I stood right behind the inbounder on the baseline and almost right under the rim for free throws. My goal was to be as much of a distraction as possible without of jeopardizing general good sportsmanship, something like a well minded fan that got to sit really close to the action. Most players just dealt with it, but some were a bit more animated particularly Scottie Reynolds. The most infamous incident I ever had with an opposing player was when Jared Dudley decided to trash talk to me of all people, someone who isn’t playing in the game mind you, and Patrick Ewing Jr. decided to talk back making it something of a spectacle to have a cheerleader getting into it with the players. Fortunately it didn’t escalate, though I think given that we beat Boston College and Pat clearly got the upper hand over Dudley that day, we got the last laugh.

We know Craig could really bring the pain on the ULTIMATE CHEER. Please tell us about the most awe inspiring cheer you've ever led.

By far I think We Are Georgetown is our best cheer. It’s not typical in that there usually no beat to it (to the disappointment of myself and Coach Thompson, but I promise we always try to put the clap clap in there), and if you get everyone doing it, it can really be intimidating. It’s the cheer I always called when it got quiet cause the game was in doubt late in the second half, or we were trying to put someone away. It serves either as a reminder to ourselves of what it means to belong to Georgetown University or a reminder to the opponent that we’re not going to lose this game.

Which Big East town do you hate visiting the most and why.

Hate is probably a strong word for me. I love the attitude and competition that is identified with Big East Basketball, truly the best and by far toughest conference in the country. As I told our new male cheerleaders this past year in January, when the Big East portion of the schedule gets underway, the games get a whole lot bigger. With that said I think Syracuse, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia are my favorite teams to play with Louisville getting honorable mention, though they’ve fallen off a bit in recent years.