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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Don’t let the outside fool you
Cheerleader Marquise Ross performs a heel stretch on the football field. J.D. Villanueva | [email protected]

Take a moment, and visualize what you think of when you hear the word cheerleader. More than likely, one thinks of a girl in a cheerleading outfit, complete with a short skirt and pom poms to match, who is shouting out short, encouraging words while kicking one leg up in the air.

Now, close your eyes and visualize this: 6-foot, 2-inch Marquise Ross, 20, a City College freshman who is double ma- joring in early childhood development and psychology, on the field at half-time—the only male cheerleader on the squad, smiling, energetic, his head held high.

Ross may not fit the typical image of a cheerleader but he says he’s more than secure in his role.

“It’s not my business to worry about what other people think of me,” says Ross. “If you don’t like it, bye.”

On the field, Ross is game-ready in his cheer leading uniform which consists of a pair of City College sweat pants, a City “It’s not my business to worry about what other people think of me.” College shirt that reads “Panthers” in gold, and black shoes, “usually Jordans,” he says while laughing and making a face as if any other shoe would be utterly ridiculous.

Ross’ mother, Marsena Smith, a 37- year old certified nursing assistant, says raising Ross was sometimes challenging and complicated. As a single mom working 12-hour long graveyard shifts to support her only child, she says she knew how impor- tant it was for her to be a good parent.

“Marquise was very independent, he had to be,” she says. “At the age of 5, [Ross] was getting up in the morning by himself, fixing himself a bowl of cereal, dressing himself, and getting himself off to school.”

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Smith said she believes firmly in the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ and worked just as hard as being a parent
as she did at her job. The two of them were a team, she says and she taught Ross the value of working hard by giving him chores around the house. By the time Ross was 5, for example, he knew how to mop the bathroom floor without any help.

“Marquise has always been very reasonable and actually stepped up and did chores by himself,” Smith says.

Ross says his mother has been support- ive in everything that he does and that she was his mother first and then his best friend.

When he told his mother that he was going to be trying out for the cheerleading team, he says, she responded, “It’s always good to try something new, go for it.”

Ross’ supervisor Krystal Berry, owner of Forever Friends Early Learning Center, has known Ross for four years and praises his attitude.

“He is really non-judgmental,” she says. “I can tell him anything and he will listen.”

Berry, unlike Ross’ mom, says she was a little shocked about his decision to cheer, but supported him nonetheless. And, she adds, all doubt faded after she took her 12- year-old son to one of his games.

“As soon as I saw him, I said, ‘That is so Marquise’,” she says.

Berry is now one of Ross’ biggest fans and says she couldn’t imagine the squad without him.

“I always encouraged him to follow his dreams,” she says. “I don’t know what he is going to be in the end, but I know he is going to be somebody.”

Ross says he considers himself funny and goofy, loud and proud, and easygoing.

“I’m a gentle giant really,” said Ross, with a grin.

Ross’ teammate, Rajania Morgan, 19, has been his best friend for six years and according to Ross, the reason why he is cheering today. Ross says once a month the two are able to pull a “best friend card,” and so when she asked him to try out for the team he couldn’t say no.

“I wanted Marquise to cheer because he was always supportive of me cheering and attended every practice, every game, and every event,” says the business management major. “He already participated like he was a team member.”

When Ross is not going to school, working full time with kids of all ages, or cheering, he says he loves to dance, cook and play video games.

“I will play for hours if I could,” he says.

For now Ross says he is cheering for fun, but is open to whatever the future holds. While he was nervous when he first began cheering, he says he has mastered the sport and is just as good as any of his female counterparts, and would recommend for more males to try out.

“You only have one life to live, so go for everything you want to do, but if you decide to cheer, you have to be ready to work,” he says, adding, “I am definitely proud of myself.”



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