- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

HOMER, Neb. (AP) - It would be easy, even understandable, for Sebastian Adame to shy away from talking about his uncommon role at Homer High School.

But rather than trying to avoid the attention and feeling self-conscious about the second looks he surely gets when he takes the court as one of the few male cheerleaders in the area, Adame welcomes it.

After all, you can’t expect a cheerleader to be shy, even if he’s the only guy participating in an activity that, in this area anyway, is seen mostly as something only girls do.

“I’ve always been the type of person who does things for me, and I don’t worry what other people say to me,” said Adame, believed to be the school’s first-ever male cheerleader.

Other people could have said plenty. It’s no secret that high school kids will blurt out inappropriate comments. Adame also could have been an easy target for fans of Homer’s competitors, most of them small schools that have never had male cheerleaders.

Adame knew from the time he tried out two years ago that, if he earned a spot on the squad, he’d stand out.

That didn’t matter to Adame, but he prepared himself for the attention he was sure to attract.

Most of that preparation went for nothing. About all Adame has had to worry about is staying in shape to keep up with the physical demands of cheerleading and getting the home crowd involved in the game.

“I may get a questioning look every once in a while, but who doesn’t like the attention? I’ve never gotten anyone saying anything to my face. I’m willing to put myself out in front of everyone and not be offended by what they think or say,” Adame told the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1BzsPTr).

Homer cheerleading coach DeAnna Schmitt said she has heard little talk about it in the hallways. Her husband, Dan, who coaches the football team, has told her that he hasn’t heard any of the boys say anything about it.

“I’ve been proud of the student body. I don’t hear any guys giving him a hard time,” Schmitt said.

The hardest part for Adame may have been getting up the nerve to try out.

After transferring to Homer from South Sioux City in the eighth grade, he enjoyed going to games and cheering on his friends. He thought being a cheerleader might be fun. As his sophomore year wound down and tryouts for the following year’s squad approached, his friend and cheerleader Geni Gomez coaxed him into giving it a try.

Overcoming nerves wasn’t so hard. He’d been on the school’s speech and drama teams, so getting up in front of people wasn’t that daunting.

Having no cheerleading experience provided the bigger challenge. He didn’t know the cheers or the moves. So he asked for a few pointers and relied on his enthusiasm to make up for his inexperience.

“I relied on friends giving me advice on what to do, and I just ran with it,” said the 17-year-old son of Martha Tapia.

He ran right onto the squad. Except for a rough first game two years ago, he said it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

He initially worried how the girls on the squad would accept him. In a sure sign that he has fit right in, Adame’s female cohorts voted him captain of the girls basketball cheer squad this season. As a senior and veteran cheerleader now, Adame’s main focus is getting Homer fans involved in the game.

All that other stuff about being the only male cheerleader out there is no big deal, Adame said.

“I just like the fact I get to cheer on my school and my friends,” said Adame, his voice still scratchy from cheering at an exciting overtime game the night before.

His voice may have been a little quieter than usual, but that didn’t keep his message of being comfortable doing what you enjoy, no matter what others may think, from coming across loud and clear.

___

Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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