What are you cheering for?
Terrell Richardson and Bobby Lundy discuss what it’s like being the only men on the cheer team
Over 6,600 fans are in attendance watching the nationally ranked UB men's basketball team take down Kent State.
The Bulls are up by 11 and CJ Massinburg just hit another three-point shot.
Terrell Richardson and Bobby Lundy rush down the court to try and find a lucky fan to launch a T-shirt at as the PA announcer yells out “Tees for threes.”
Richardson and Lundy find a fan and retreat back toward the student section with smiles on their faces. The fans' cheers aren’t just for the team, they’re also for them.
Positive energy and support from the crowd has kept Richardson and Lundy cheering for the past three years. Neither originally had any plans on joining the cheer team; coincidentally they joined on the same day.
Richardson, a senior economics major, never cheered before joining UB’s team. He had some background in diving and worked at SkyZone for the past six years, however, he was kept away from the sport.
“My dad would have never approved of it honestly,” Richardson said. “He was one of those dads that made me play football for seven years. But he’s cool with it since I’m my own person now.”
Lundy, a senior civil engineering major, is originally from Atlanta, where cheer has a much larger presence than in the Northeast.
Lundy said, when he was in middle school, he would be out in his backyard, teaching himself how to do different flips. He ended up getting into tumbling after he learned to do a variety of flips. Someone in high school then recruited him for the cheer team, which is where Lundy got his start.
Men are still joining competition teams in the Northeast, but there aren’t as many on the teams performing at sporting events.
“Down in places like Georgia, there is more of a demand for guys in cheerleading,” Lundy said. “Legally and physically, you need guys for some certain stunts. Think about going to a UB football game. You aren’t going to see the No. 1 football team in the country, nor are you going to see the No. 1 cheer team in the country.”
There are only a couple men on the cheer team right now, but both believe that if the sports teams start having more success, the cheer team will grow as well.
This growth would naturally make more men interested in joining the team.
Even some of the girls on the team wish more men would join, as it has a positive impact on their growth as a team.
“The guys on the team are more athletic, so when it came to conditioning, I felt more motivated to run faster and try to keep their pace,” said first-year MBA student Dani Hockwater, who is now a UB cheer alum. “Another difference is with all girl stunts, you need two to three girls, but when you have men, you can have one guy and one girl. So we were able to challenge our pyramids and stunts at games.”
The girls aren’t the only ones that like having the men on the team. The community seems to love seeing the men perform as well.
Both Richardson and Lundy explained that, for as long as they have been cheering, they have pretty much always received positive feedback and no negativity. They’ve had people from the community tell them how great it is to see them perform throughout football and basketball season.
The only real misconception they have experienced is people thinking they joined the team only to hook up with the girls. Lundy explained being approached by someone at a McDonald’s who expressed his concerns about him and Richardson being on the cheer team with the #MeToo movement going on.
“That would never have even been a thought for me and Terrell,” Lundy said. “In general, there’s never been that type of energy or concern.”
Instead, they have a different reason for continuing to cheer.
“We get so much love from the fans because of our high energy,” Richardson said. “People are always coming up to us and telling us how much we pump up the crowd and how they are always looking for us. That’s the reason why I love being on the team.”
Andrew Fitzgerald is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.