What do the male cheerleaders of the Chennai Super Kings, the only team that lets boys shake pom-poms, have in common with former US presidents Dwight D Eisenhower and Franklin D Roosevelt?
Nope, none of them have the initial D as their middle-name. However, like the yellow clad CSK dancers, even the two former presidents were cheerleaders.
When cheerleaders were first introduced in modern sport by Princeton graduate Thomas Peebles in 1884, they were predominantly male. In fact, till the early 1920's it was an all-male activity.
But why in this day and age would the CSK management go for male cheerleaders? Have they been stuck in a time warp before the Dallas Cowboys cheergirls existed?
Is it to ensure there are no Gabriella Pasqualotto-like incidents? Such a controversy would certainly be unlikely with male cheerleaders around. No matter how much UB booze is available in the IPL after parties, the players would stick to the straight and narrow and make sure there is no repeat of the kind of blogging by the South African that embarrassed the league bosses who sacked her.
But, why should girls have all the fun, right? Just to show their support for their male cheerleaders, they were even given a grand entrance as their names were announced on the public address system, and they made their way to their dais with a packed crowd cheering them on. Not so surprisingly the all-girl RCB cheerleaders drew more applause — the only time the RCB contingent found the crowd's support.