Whatever happened to that big Black cheerleader?

cheerleaders
Performing a stunt with an Indiana Hoosier cheerleader before the 1985 NIT final, IU vs. UCLA.

“You used to be a cheerleader for UCLA, but before that you were a yell leader for USC!”

The words of a woman who once approached me at an airport.

“Weren’t you that cheerleader for UCLA?”

A question I was asked, wherever I went, for a good fifteen years after college.

“Didn’t you used to be a yell leader for USC?”

Another question that followed me for years after college.

“Hey, it’s the traitor! He used to be a USC yell leader, but he transferred and became a UCLA cheerleader. He’s a traitor! It’s the traitor! Look everybody, it’s the traitor!”

The loud accusations of a handful of black kids as I escorted my mother to a LA Clippers game at the old Sports Arena in 1986. The kids lived in South Central, hung around the Coliseum and USC football. For years in the 80s, whenever they saw me in public: “There’s the traitor. He’s a traitor. First he went to USC, then he …”

My young black hecklers served as inspiration for a similar bit in Walt Loves the Bearcat, my fourth novel about the life of a black male cheerleader (and his QB hubby who comes out and shocks the world).

But what inspired me to become a cheerleader? And why did I do it at two major universities who are bitter crosstown rivals? And what was cheerleading like for this big-assed, six-foot-three, athlete-looking ni … nice black man?

Find out in the blocks labeled Cheer Up, now and forever at Randy Boyd’s Blocks:

So I Thought I Could Dance
USC Yell Leader Has Love Hangover at Fiesta Bowl
UCLA Cheerleader Sacked by Rose Bowl

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