A Story of True Friendship and Sportsmanship
Three years ago, two cheerleaders formed a bond over a sport they both loved and dedicated timeless hours to. After only one year on the same team, they chose different teams to continue their cheer journeys. Despite this, the friendship did not waiver. If anything, it grew even stronger. They were determined to continue to support each other in their efforts, cheer each other on, and push each other to be their very best.
“One day, we decided to create an Instagram page together so we could post videos and keep track of our progression. While deciding on a name for the Instagram account, we thought since we are bros and we love to do flips, why not call ourselves the Flipbros?” Carter shared. “Then our moms got involved as well, making things like shirts and posters for us, saying #flipbros or just Flip Bros,” stated Evan.
They may wear different uniforms, tumble and stunt for different gyms, but they are very much on the same ‘team’. Not only do they support each other individually, but their families get involved as well. They are genuinely excited for each other’s successes and are there for each other when they have a rough competition or practice.
Heart of Cheer caught up the #Flipbros to learn more about this dynamic duo and how they maintain a close-knit brotherhood despite the different names on the front of their uniforms.
First, tell me a little about yourself and how you got started in cheerleading.
Carter: I decided I wanted to join cheer after I went to one of my sister’s high school cheer competitions for the first time. I believe I was 11 years old at that time, and I was fascinated by the tumbling and stunting skills. There weren’t any cheer programs in our area, and I knew I wanted to get started before high school, so we looked for an alternative and found Storm Elite All-stars. I’m in my 3rd year in competitive cheer, and I am looking forward to heading into my 4th season for 2019-2020.
Evan: I started to cheer when I was ten years old, and this is my 4th season cheering. My first and only year being on a team with Carter was my 2nd year before I started going to a different gym. I started cheer because I did gymnastics for a while, but they didn’t have anything competitive for boys. A few years after quitting gymnastics, my mom took me to an open gym at Storm. There I saw guys doing crazy flips that I had never even seen while doing gymnastics, let alone try. I decided that I had a lot more opportunity in all-star cheer. My first season in cheer I was also in football, but I quit football after that.
How many days a week do you practice, and for how long?
Carter: I am currently on two teams and practice three days a week for 2 ½ hours per practice, which is roughly 15 hours per week. I also enjoy practicing my tumbling skills at home on my trampoline and air track, as well as going to open gyms whenever possible.
Evan: In an average week, I practice 3-4 days, for about 13 hours a week.
What is it like being on a different team from your cheer bro?
Carter: To be honest, it is hard, and I sometimes wish we were still on the same team, but in the end, we always know that we will be proud of each other. After practice, we will talk to each other about the skills we are getting, and we continue to support each other no matter what.
Evan: I wish that I could be on the same team as Carter because we both give each other the kind of confidence and trust that only we share. Although being on a different team than him also adds an aspect of friendly competition to the competitions
Describe a typical competition day. Do you have a pre-comp playlist, and if so, what’s on it?
Carter: I think one of my favorite things about competition days is the ability to hang out with friends and meet new friends at the event. After competing, I enjoy walking around and meeting new people and encouraging them and wishing them good luck. I usually listen to some songs on my dubstep playlist because the upbeat songs get my adrenaline rushing. A ritual I have started in warmups at every competition is to pull one double full on the tumble track. I also always remind myself to stay confident.
Evan: I usually wake up later than most of my teammates on a competition day, as I don’t have to worry about makeup or hair (which is a big bonus to being a male cheerleader). After arriving at the venue, I will usually hang out with my teammates and talk to them before we get ready to warm up. My team will often listen to music while stretching/waiting to go to warm-ups. My team is usually good at pumping each other up before competing. We usually give each other pep talks and do secret handshakes and give each other hugs before performing. After the performance, we go over our score as a team. Depending on the schedule for the day, I’ll either spend the rest of the day relaxing or hanging out with Carter if he’s at the same comp, or go back to the hotel and rest. I have a playlist of Dubstep, EDM, and Rap music to pump me up before a competition.
Define Sportsmanship. What are some things you do to promote good sportsmanship at competitions and other cheer events?
Carter: I think an act of sportsmanship is when you show hospitality to another athlete that is not on your team. I show integrity all the time at competitions and sometimes even when I don’t realize it, because I am always walking up to people and wishing them good luck, trying to get to know other athletes and make new friends. This year, my mom helped me decorate clothes pins with encouraging and supportive sayings, and I take the clothes pins and try to put them on other athlete’s backpacks without them noticing. Later, when they find the clothespin, I hope it makes them smile and encourages them to do well. I include my Instagram on the clothespins, so they can connect with me and form lasting friendships. Another way I promote sportsmanship is to wish other teams in our division good luck. I find this is especially important now that my best friend and I are no longer on the same team. Since Evan left Storm and went to NXA, we have continued to support and encourage each other even when we are faced with competing against each other. When we are back in warm-ups, we will say, “Let the best team win.”
Evan: I think sportsmanship is both about accepting defeat and being humble with victory. Integrity is about not gloating/bragging about it when you win, and congratulating the other teams, whether they placed ahead of you or not. I believe that every sport is more enjoyable if the opposing teams/sides can be kind to one another, and I try to be friendly with the other teams I see at competitions.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in cheerleading (to date)? What are your future goals?
Carter: My most significant accomplishment to date is being selected as a finalist for the 2019 Battle in the Arena. As a third-year athlete at 14 years old, I was honored and humbled to be chosen as a finalist in a level 5 tumbling competition such as Battle in the Arena. My future goals include getting back to the Battle in the Arena and hopefully winning one day. I want to continue to work on my skills so I can become a level 6 athlete someday. I also hope that my tumbling and cheer abilities will help me get a scholarship for college in a few years.
Evan: I’d say one of my most significant accomplishments in cheer is my double full, which I’ve only started practicing recently. Besides tumbling, my skills in co-ed stunting have progressed very fast, and are continuing to improve very well. This summer I will be working as a Junior Staff Member with CWCC (Central Wisconsin Cheerleading Camps) which will give me the opportunity to work with collegiate cheerleaders throughout the state, continue to improve my
What is your favorite memory from cheerleading?
Carter: My favorite memory of cheer was my first season at Storm with Evan when we went to UCA Internationals in Disney World. It was so great to be at Disney World with my best friend.
Evan: I think my favorite memory of cheerleading was my first competition in Florida, UCA. Carter and I were on a Senior co-ed level 3 team together, and we both had a lot of fun hanging out with each other. It was also at the time the most significant competition that I had gone to, and the farthest that I’d traveled for a championship. It was an amazing experience.
Cheerleading aside, what is your favorite sport?
Carter: Cheer is a year-round sport that requires passionate and dedicated people. I don’t have time for other sports. I do enjoy watching football, basketball, and hockey when I have a chance.
Evan: Cheerleading aside, I’d say my favorite sport is probably Ultimate Frisbee. It’s fun, the people I play with are great, and it’s a great workout outside of the gym
What advice would you give to any boy out there who wants to start cheer?
Carter: Never give up and never think you are not good enough. Just because there are not a lot of guys in cheer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Believe in yourself, stay positive and determined, and don’t let the stereotypes get in the way of your goals. I have made a lot of great friends as a result of being in cheer. I have also been able to show a lot of my non-cheer friends how challenging cheerleading is, and it feels good to know that I am respected for my athletic abilities.
Evan: One of the most significant pieces of advice that I’d give
Share some essential life lessons you have ‘taken off the mat’ from being a cheer athlete.
Carter: You must stay determined and confident. Focus on your goals, and believe in yourself. Always strive to better than you were yesterday. It has taught me the value of hard work, and if you stay determined, you will conquer your goals.
Evan: One crucial life lesson I’ve learned from cheer is that you must work for what you want. If you genuinely desire something, you must put in the work to get it. Another lesson is to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s essential to try new things, meet new people, and try to have as diverse of a lifestyle as you can. Cheer has helped me academically by helping me be more organized with scheduling (i.e., setting a specific time aside for homework) and has helped me realize the importance of going the extra mile. I’m taking three advanced classes, and I’m getting more advanced work in Spanish by choice. Cheer has also helped me make friends, which I’ve realized is a vital part of life.
Who do you look up to for inspiration, and why?
Carter: I look up to Hector Dejesus because he is someone that first inspired me to join cheer when he was on my sister Brianna’s high school cheer team. Then I started to see him at the Storm gym too. After he graduated, he followed his dreams and went on to be an athlete on Top Gun for a while, and he continues to pursue his passion for cheer.
In addition to Hector, I also became friends with Jaden Ponce and was able to cheer with him during my first season of cheer at Storm. Jaden is impressive to watch; the way he mixes martial arts with tumbling is incredible. Jaden has taught me that I should never give up on my dreams, and if I try hard enough, I will succeed beyond what I can even imagine.
Evan: When it comes to cheering, I look up to my Flip Bro. He started as a self-taught tumbler with sloppy form and hardly any skills and is now one of the best and most dedicated tumblers I’ve ever seen. Besides cheer, I look up to my little cousin, Malcolm. He was diagnosed with neuroblastoma on Christmas Eve, and despite all the tests and pokes and prods, he continues to be energetic and friendly. One day, I hope to be Malcolm strong!
Heart of Cheer would like to thank Carter and Evan for taking the time to share their personal experience with us.
You can learn more about #flipbros and follow Carter and Evan at the following links:
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