Mascot experience leads to cheerleader opportunity

In his first year at Midland College, Eddie Tavarez decided to do something out of the ordinary.

Going from a long-distance runner in high school to a mascot and cheerleader his freshmen year of college, was quite the adjustment.

“I had already known most of the cheerleaders and they told me that they needed a mascot, so I was like ‘all right!’

“They told the coach and he basically told me that I was going to be the mascot one night and people were going to observe me and see how I do,” he said.

Tavarez set out to be the MC mascot, but within one practice and two basketball games, the decision was made that Tavarez would soon be taking the mascot uniform off, and putting on a cheerleading uniform.

“I switched over real quick,” he said. “It wasn’t really my choice; it was more of the instructor at Legacy, which is the place we practice at.

“I went to the first day of practice and they told him [Legacy coach] ‘Hey, he’s going to be the mascot’ and he said, ‘No this is nonsense. Let’s try him out as a cheerleader and see if he can do that.’”

Tavarez then tried out as a cheerleader, and got positive feedback from the Legacy coach. He said, ‘You’ve got a lot of potential. We’ll start you off as cheerleader.’”

From there, Tavarez went ahead and tried out as the role of the mascot as well.

The head cheer coach Ty Soliz had Tavarez try out as mascot the first game against New Mexico Junior College as well as the game against Odessa College.

It was the game in which the final decision was made as to what position Tavarez would be filling.

“He told me ‘you’re suiting up as a cheerleader the next game.’ And ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing!” Tavarez said.

When asked if he liked being a cheerleader better than being the mascot he said, “I actually do like it! I like cheerleading better because that mascot costume is hot.”

Going from a long distance runner to a cheerleader, Tavarez said that the scholarship money the program offered was a significant reason to join, as well as getting involved at MC.

“It’s something to get involved with within the school. I go to all the school sporting events anyway because I’m a sports enthusiast, so I thought why not do something and get paid doing it,” Tavarez said.

“We cheer for volleyball, women’s and men’s basketball, and we’re going to the girl’s regional tournament,” he said. “I also just got word that we’re going to baseball and softball home games for support.”

The cheerleaders support the athletes by obviously cheering for them at the games, but like the athletes they also have to prepare for the games.

“We have practice every Tuesday night at 7:30 at Legacy,” Tavarez said.

“It’s a pretty cool place, they have some impressive trophies and banners everywhere.”

When asked if he thought the sport of cheerleading was hard, he said: “Now that I’m doing it— yes! It’s way harder than what most people think of it; there’s a lot of interesting things about it.”

Taking on this new sport given him more “motivation to work out and do better in school,” he said.

When asked if he recommended this program to anybody else, Tavarez said: “You’re representing Midland College along with the athletes; If you want to get involved and have school spirit I recommend it!”

The MC mascot position is currently available. For information, contact Ty Soliz, or visit http://www.midland.edu/students/clubs_cheerleading.php

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