Since before the start of kindergarten, incoming Plymouth High School freshman Chris Bali has been a gymnast and has taken tumbling classes at Premier Athletics. However, despite the wishes of multiple cheer members wanting to have a male compete alongside them on the Plymouth competitive cheer team, Bali was told he could not be a competitive cheerleader simply because of rules set by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).
Regarding Bali’s reaction towards being denied the opportunity of competing, he said, “I attended the Plymouth High School sports orientation excited that I would be able to find more about becoming a competitive cheerleader. When the people advocating for this sport told me I couldn’t compete because I was a boy, I was heartbroken. I wanted to feel welcome in the new change of environment for me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and what really happened was devastating.”
Bali is allowed on Plymouth’s sideline cheer team but this is not the opportunity he had hoped for; as he was clearly sidelined by MHSAA’s rules.
Many males face the same dilemma Bali did, as MHSAA sanctions cheerleading as a girls – only sport.
Young females who are in competitive cheer and want to participate in MHSAA competitions are put at a large disadvantage. If a male was to be involved with the females in whatever capacity, they are not allowed to participate in MHSAA competitive cheer. In addition, if a male was to join a competitive cheer team, the team would then be barred from competing against teams in MHSAA tournaments.
In relation to the gender discrimination dilemma, Bali said, “I feel rejected and discriminated against because of a gender that I was born with. I can’t partake in one of my favorite sports for something as irrelevant as my biological sex.”
Using Bali as an example, as said before, many males only wishing to fulfill their dream sport or another dream of theirs cannot be fulfilled due to unjustified and unfair rules made by the MHSAA.
Males, just like females and any other human being, deserve to have the same opportunities as everyone else. These young individuals just want a chance at competing and I don’t see why gender should be the determining factor.
To add onto equal opportunities, here’s another thought: If girls are allowed to wrestle, shouldn’t the MHSAA allow boys to compete on a competitive cheer team as well?
As demonstrated throughout the article, it’s time to act upon the unjust and stereotypical rules of the MHSAA. After all, would you want these type of rules to stop you from achieving your dreams?