Billingsley challenges standard ‘one stunt at a time’


Junior Hayden Billingsly shines under the Friday night lights at Custer Stadium.

Abby Turner , 4E Voices Editor

Cheer may be widely considered as an all girls sport, but junior Hayden Billingsley is shattering that stereotype one stunt at a time. Billingsley is the sole male member of the Bartlesville Cheer squad. As well as participating on the school cheer team, he also participates in competitive cheer, and helps out as a tumbling instructor. Only a handful of boys have been on the squad in all of BHS history, but Billingsley is the first in a long period of time.

“When I was little I loved to run, jump, and roll everywhere. I also did gymnastics until fourth grade,” Billingsley said. “Then, out of the blue, some girls asked me if I wanted to tryout for cheer, and I said sure why not, so I tried out and made the team.”

It really was as simple as that, and before the student body knew it, there was a cheerleader repping shorts instead of a skirt on the sideline. Although Billingsley may be the only cheerleader currently on the squad, he is just as much a part of the team as any of the girls are. “I don’t normally feel singled out because everyone on the team treats my like one of them. Plus, I already had friends on the team to help me make friends with the other girls.” Billingsley said.

With a sport as active as cheer, jumping into it is a big commitment. But, if one has a support system to strengthen them like Billingsley does, success is almost guaranteed. “My family was all for it and encouraged me all the way through tryouts and everything, and then all my friends were very surprised at what I can do,” Billingsley said.

Even if he does not feel singled out, there are still no shortages of uncomfortable moments when you are the only boy around. “Sometimes the things that the girls say can be very awkward considering I’m a guy on all girls team, but the main thing is that it has taught me that girls can work just has hard as guys,” Billingsley said.

It is no secret that cheer is not always considered a sport. Some individuals do not believe that cheer is physically demanding, but Billingsley could not disagree more. “I’ve played many sports throughout my life and I think that, hands down, cheerleading is the most challenging sport there is.” Billingsley said.

As the only boy on the team, a little bit more of a male presence on the team may be nice to have. Billingsley agrees and believes that cheer can be just as difficult, or even more, as any other sport that guys typically participate in. “I think more guys should join the team because it helps you gain athleticism, because you have to train your muscles like a football lineman and your speed as if you’re running a marathon,” Billingsley said. “Once you combine those things you’ll be awesome because you can throw people 20 feet in the air, which is cool!”

Cheer is an expression of enthusiasm towards a team. So energetic individuals, like Billingsley, thrive in situations where they get to learn new skills for an exciting purpose.  “I personally love to cheer because I get to learn cool flips and stunts,” Billingsley said. Plus a big thing is I get to show off my school spirit.”