In an era where sports is trending toward gender equality, girls are getting more and more opportunities to participate on boys’ teams. Every now and then we see a high school girl kicking field goals for the football team. For Brandon Urbas, a 14-year-old Michigan high school cheerleader, the opposite is unfortunately not as openly accepted. In a recent competition, Urbas’ Y-gene led to his team’s disqualification. Urbas’ Michigan high school coach broke the news to him and the cheerleading team after a competition in Port Huron this week.
Urbas is the only male on his Lakeview High cheering team. That doesn’t seem to bother anyone, as evidenced by the fact that he insists he has received great support.
“(The football players) just tell me that if I have any problems to let them know and they always have my back,” Urbas said according to WXYZ in Michigan.
The same cannot be said for the Michigan High School Athletic Association which released a statement that read as follows: “Boys may not participate on a girls’ team in MHSAA sponsored postseason meets and tournaments. Schools have adopted this position to preserve participation opportunities for the historically underrepresented gender.”
Cheerleading has always been viewed as a girl’s sport. Few would dispute that. Still, to disallow a cheerleader because of his sex is a bit unfair in a sport measured by synchronicity, choreography, and spirit. A man’s testosterone level might give him an advantage in running or throwing, but timing your back-flips with teammates seems to favor no gender.
The biggest question is if Urbas was not allowed to participate, why was his team permitted to compete? The MHSAA could have avoided this by informing Lakeview of the rule. A male in a tournament where only females are allowed seems like an easy red flag to spot.
Photo via WXYZ’s news video.