Southampton senior is first male to cheer for Indians in more than 15 years

Published 9:08 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

COURTLAND—Two months into his senior year at Southampton High School, DeShon Rollins joined some 40 girls for basketball cheerleading tryouts.

Southampton High School senior cheerleader DeShon Rollins does an aerial split during a Lady Indians’ playoff game. -- Andrew Faison

Thirteen were chosen for varsity squad, including Rollins, whose enthusiasm on the sidelines can be mesmerizing.

“He makes an excellent cheerleader,” said senior Ashley Tubbs, with whom Rollins grew up. “His voice projects and he knows the moves.”

Senior cheerleader Shayvonne Woodley echoed Tubbs’ comments.

Even when it’s not basketball season, said Woodley, “he loves to cheer. He’s been excellent. He’s a big help when we don’t feel like cheering.”

Cheerleading Coach Norma Jones said it’s been more than 15 years since the Indians were cheered on by a guy.

Southampton High School senior cheerleader DeShon Rollins performs during the varsity girls’ Region finals against Brunswick. -- FRANK A. DAVIS | TIDEWATER NEWS

“Cheerleading is an open sport,” Jones said. “I never had a male cheerleader before. With everything, there’s an adjustment.”

“He’s a very strong cheerleader, very creative,” she added. “I think he makes the other cheerleaders do better because he’s so dominant.”

Rollins’ interest in cheering was prompted from hanging around Tubbs and studying tumbling at Triple T Sports Center in Suffolk. The son of Phyllis and Olin Rollins, he can do aerial and floor splits, cartwheels, back handsprings and more.

The cheerleaders attend boys’ and girls’ games, sometimes back to back, sometimes four days a week.

“It’s been a great experience and I love each and every one of these ladies,” Rollins said.

He hopes to attend Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Fla., or Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. The latter has cheerleaders, which he may consider trying out for while studying political science in hopes of becoming a lawyer.

The girls say they have appreciated Rollins’ enthusiasm.

“He’s definitely motivated and he’s always high spirited,” said senior cheerleader Texie Blythe. “We have dealt with his attitude, but we all have attitude.”