Co-Ed Sports Becoming a Reality with Poms’ Jayson Coy and Cheer’s Connor Gartner
by Caroline Merck
The rustling of the streamers on a pom-pon can be heard at the men’s and women’s basketball games as the winter sports season commences. This year, there are new faces behind those cheers and chants, including Jayson Coy, Adv. 905, on the poms team, and Connor Gartner, Adv. 810, on the cheerleading squad.
They both remember watching the teams perform last year and the feeling that made them want to try out. Coy said, “I always enjoyed watching the poms team perform. I love to dance, and two of my good friends are the captains this year, so I thought that I would take the opportunity and try out this year.” Gartner said, “One of my close friends was a cheerleader last year, and whenever the team performed at the school, I kept thinking about how much fun it looked. I’m high energy, I’m an active guy, I like to dance, so why couldn’t I be a cheerleader?” Both are now the only boys on the teams.
When asked what it is like to be the only male on the teams, they both agreed that the only difference is the uniform. They perform the same dance and do the same stunts, so they fit in on the teams perfectly. Coy and Gartner also said that they have not faced any prejudices or setbacks while joining the teams.
Although it is Coy’s junior year, he still thinks that now is better than never to join the team. Coy said, “I never really thought about joining poms my freshman or sophomore year, nor did I have the experience necessary to join poms. I still didn’t really have any experience, but I felt more confident knowing that there were people on the team I was friends with, and people I knew were trying out.” Apart from the poms team, Coy is also the captain of Indian Dance, as well as involved in Mediclub and Chinese Honor Society.
Apart from the endless support from the Poms team, Coy also has support from his family. His mom used to be a poms dancer and his aunt tried out in high school, so when he told them that he was trying out for the team they were extremely excited for him. The men in his family, “either didn’t know what poms was or didn’t really show much interest, but they still congratulated me and they were proud of me,” said Coy.
Overall both Coy and Gartner have positive advice for other people considering joining a sport that is stereotypically not for them. “Just do it. I literally had no experience before joining poms, so even if you think you won’t be able to do it, you should still give it a try,” said Coy. “Go for it. Put yourself out there, because chances are, you’ll find something you really love doing even if it is unconventional,” said Gartner. Coy would also like to thank the poms team for their support. He said, “Shoutout to the entire poms team for being so supportive and teaching me everything I need to know. Shoutout to my fans that come to support me and put me on their Snapchat stories. I really enjoy the attention.”