Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Florida Manatees

The Florida Marlins are attempting to break their streak of mediocre ticket sales and bring more excitement to the stadium. If you’ve followed SportsCenter (or even local news in many cases) then you've seen the reports of the new all-male dance squad, The Manatees. Some are offended, some are amused, but you must admit that it is generating a lot press for the team. There are fans who find it funny that the plus-sized guys are having fun and making a scene. Others take the narrow view that only attractive women are supposed to be cheerleaders or members of dance squads. Still others are offended at the size of the members and sometimes add that they are poking fun at a serious health issue. Opinions are running all over the spectrum with varied degrees of acceptance and offense.

The men who are participating in the inaugural squad of the Manatees claim they are excited to be a part of something they truly enjoy. Most are passionate sports fans and claim that they appreciate the fact that they were recruited because of their size.

The Marlins are not the first to attempt this sort of sideline entertainment. The Chicago Bulls of the NBA have The Matadors, a plus-sized all-male dance crew that had initial tryouts in September of 2003.

Cheerleading as we know it today dates back to the late 1880s and was first led by college men in the United States. Some credit one university lad, Johnny Campbell, with the first squad as he recruited some of his friends to assure that crowds at Princeton football games would leave hoarse. A cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma, formed in the 1900s and it was not until the 1920s that women became involved in the sport.

Many prominent and famous men have participated in cheerleading at some point in their lives. The long list of politicians, actors, and others includes Dwight D. Eisenhower, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, Michael Douglas, Jimmy Stewart, Aaron Spelling, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Trent Lott, Thad Cochran, and George W. Bush.

What do you think? Are you offended? Do you find the team amusing? What statement or message do you think this sends?


Dyimz said...

Thanks for adding me. I also added you on my blog roll. Let's put our passion into writing. =]

Apryl DeLancey said...

I love your attitude! Spread the sports love!