Originally aired on WJBK-TV – October 1, 2019
Brendan Hebert makes it look easy. He’s been tumbling pretty much since he could walk, a cheerleader in what’s turned out to be a family affair.
“I was very fortunate to start early and I love it – I love it,” he said.
Brendan’s’ mom, Lea, was a cheerleader and a coach. Her mom and sister were both coaches. Now all of them work at Elite Cheer in Chesterfield, the first cheer gym in the state of Michigan that Lea opened nearly 20 years ago. She’s behind Brendan all the way.
“Male cheerleaders, there’s unlimited scholarships out there for them. So as a mother this is great, now he can get a scholarship, he can go to college; it’s less burden on our family,” said Lea.
A sophomore in high school, Brendan is already being scouted by college cheer teams, which is unusual here in Michigan because boys aren’t allowed to cheer.
“Unfortunately boys in the state of Michigan are at a disadvantage to the rest of the country,” Lea said. “Because in every other state in the country, boys can cheer. But in Michigan, they’re not allowed to.”
So the Hebert family is getting around the rules of the Michigan High School Athletic Association by sending Brendan to the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, online schooling that allows him to get an education and a lot of time in the gym.
Brendan is part of the world team there at Elite Cheer so they go all over the place and compete. They also practice six hours a week.
“Cheerleading’s not in the Olympics but if it was, I think I could be a contender,” Brendan said.
Brendan’s a true competitor and a strong role model for his little sister, Brooklyn.
“Most of the time it’s pretty cool. It’s fun having someone to look up to, especially being my sibling,” she said.
It’s a family affair and this male cheerleader in a female-dominated sport sure has plenty of people cheering him on.
“He’s got two more years of high school left,” Lea said. “And wherever he chooses to continue cheerleading – we’ll support him.”
To learn more about Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, visit https://mglva.k12.com/