Cheerleading is much more difficult than people give it credit for. We aren’t sure why people have a hard time understanding it’s not easy to do things like fly, tumble, and catch human beings, but for some reason it is. While it generally doesn’t bother us what other people think about the sport we love, we all have occasionally wished people would just come try it so they would know what they’re talking about. Well, David Vertsberger, a reporter for Stony Brook University’s The Stony Brook Statesman in Long Island, did it. This brave soul attended his school’s fall cheerleading tryouts last week. We are impressed that he was up for the challenge and amused at his response. Here’s a few of our favorite quotes from David’s experience: “I decided to attend these tryouts in hopes of garnering an appreciation towards an often overlooked sport. I ended up with such, as well as a couple of sore hamstrings and a never ending feeling of emasculation.” We think it’s pretty impressive that he at least was willing to try it at all, and, as any cheerleaders know, the soreness will go away (until next time). [After hearing some typical cheerleading war stories] “Years of experience? Knee cartilage gone? Not a drop of sweat and I was already questioning my decision.” It is the most dangerous sport for girls for a reason. “When my body was actually able to contort in the manner asked, it felt as if acid was being poured on my muscles. One of the final stretches was a full split. “‘Nope,’ I muttered.” No pain, no gain. But we think he could get the splits with some practice! “As a male, I was restricted to having to memorize just four moves. This was a blessing in disguise, as the women had to pick up patterns with dozens of steps and then recite them to perfection half an hour later. This was beyond my mental capacity.” Anyone else think he went home and tried the women’s routine in front of the mirror later? “Watching the team practice these stunts forced me to react in ways I would to a ferocious slam dunk or ludicrous touchdown catch. When a slip-up occurred, avoiding major injury hinged on a few teammates reacting in time to catch the falling cheerleader. The group would then laugh it off and try again, despite the clear and present danger.” Yep, he gets it. “As I was preparing to leave, I noted to one cheerleader that some of the things I witnessed throughout the evening should not be humanly possible. ‘We’re not human,’ she responded. ‘We’re cheerleaders.'” Can we get that on a t-shirt? David was a great sport, and it sounds like he did pretty well! The Stony Brook cheerleaders seem like a supportive, helpful squad, too. You can read David’s whole tryout experience in The Stony Brook Statesman. Who would you want to come to your cheer practice, and what do you think they would say after?