Last Saturday night when the T.C. Williams basketball teams season came to an end, the cheerleaders also finished their winter sports responsibilities. For senior James Leslie, it was the end of a very special experience and the beginning of another.
James entertained T.C. fans this year with hand springs and back flips up and down the basketball court. He was the only male member of the varsity cheerleading squad.
When I was a student at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax County, I used to sit in the stands and watch the cheerleaders and wish I could be one of them. Cheering just looked really fun and like something that I would like to do, James said.
Last year, at T. C. Williams High School, James decided to try out for the team. I had never cheered before and hadnt taken any gymnastics classes but I wanted to try, he said.
Not only did he try, he was chosen to be part of the junior varsity squad. Lucretia Murphy, who was in charge of the JV squad last year said, James just always fit in with the rest of the group. He has a lot of spirit and the fact that he was the only male just didnt matter.
This year, James and his coach moved to the varsity cheerleading squad. I was really happy to get the chance to be on varsity and have had a great time this year, James said.
Its been a good year, Murphy said. James is stronger than most of the other members of the squad and was able to lift the girls better than anyone else could have done. Also, hes one of our best gymnasts even though he just started classes in the fall. We are going to miss him.
James is headed to school in California and cheerleading may be part of his future. Ive been accepted to San Diego State University and loved the campus when I visited there, he said. One of my coaches at T.C. went to school there and is going to put me in touch with the cheerleading coach and some cheerleaders there. Im going to continue taking gymnastics and am going to conditioning with the cheerleaders who will be returning to T.C. next year to help my coach motivate them. Ive had a great time at T.C. even though it was hard to get used to at first. Everyone has been really nice to me.
James plans to study television and film in college. Id like to be a director but know that I will have to start out with small steps, he said.