My 11 year old step son Mason has never been a boy that enjoyed typical sports, he tried a number of different sports and wasn’t able to find anything that he was truly passionate about. At the end of year two, Mason came home and said to me “Would it be okay if I tried cheer next year at school?”. Unsure of what it was all about my husband and I got in contact with the principle coach Leanne Shea Langdown (the author of the cheer chick Charlie series). She spoke with us about why she had started the cheer program in the school and in a nut shell it was for kids exactly like Mason. It was for Kids that didn’t feel like they fit in regular sports or couldn’t find something they were passionate about. As it was something that Mason really wanted to try we enrolled him.
That following year started Mason’s passion for cheer, he was the only boy in the squad for more than a year. There were other boys that joined the squad but they were teased and eventually dropped out, but not Mason. He loved it, he loved everything about cheer. You can see the passion for it as soon as he walks on the stage to perform, the cheeky grin that he would get just as the music starts.
But with his passion came a price, he has been continually teased, mocked and bullied for doing cheerleading being continually told that cheer is a girls sport and because he is doing it he must be a girl or he must like boys. The guilt he felt for wanting to do something that kids and parents alike told him wasn’t a boys sport has taken a toll on his confidence but it hasn’t once wavered his desire to continue to do cheer. It was heartbreaking to hear how cruel kids can be, every week he would come home from school and talk about what other kids were saying and doing to him for doing cheer. After hearing from Mason about how people teased him we asked him if he still wanted to do cheer he said “Yes I don’t ever want it give it up. Besides if I gave it up, they would just find something else to tease me about” wise words for an 11 year old.
This sport that he has come so passionate about has now inspired his sister Kyja to take up the sport too. Last year was her first year of cheer at Heat cheerleading at the age of 4, she now shares that passion for cheer. In the middle of last year Leanne asked Mason if he would like to start a partner stunt group. Leanne had been thinking about getting Mason a partner stunt but hadn’t quite found someone for him to do it with but now that Kyja has been doing cheer they should do it together. Last year they competed in a cross squad calibration partner stunt and the ACT state championships. They only had 5 coached training sessions before states and ended up coming third and qualified for AASCF Nationals! They were so excited and we were so proud. So we made the trip to Melbourne for them to perform. In watching them take the stage the pride and emotion took over. The look that Kyja gave Mason just before the music started and how Mason was such a stable base for her was amazing. And when they finished, Kyja jumped on Mason and he carried her off the stage, this brought tears to our eyes. Watching them perform that day was one of the highlights of our lives.
Being only 11 and continuing to do something that you are passionate in the face of adversity is pretty inspiring, to motivate people to continue to do what they love is so inspiring in fact my husband and I have joined a stunt team and may be performing this year. His passion inspires me and as an adult to have an 11 year old inspire me it pretty amazing.
This story was sent into us by Janae O’Shaughnessy. Aussie Cheer Channel would like to thank Janae for taking the time to prepare this for us and we wish Mason and Kyja all the best for their cheerleading future.