Player Profile: Mary Fitch

First-year Mary Fitch ended up cheerleading by chance in high school. Now, she has a love for the sport that she defends from stereotypes.

Fitch has an athletic history. She was involved in ballet, swimming, cross-country and track.

“I had been interested [in cheerleading] in Kentucky, but took ballet lessons when I moved to New Jersey,” Fitch says.

Cheerleading became an option when her high school had an opening on the team. Fitch was encouraged through friends to try out for the team.

“I had to learn how to tumble, so I did that in two weeks,” Fitch says.

On her high school team, Fitch was a spotter.

This changed when she came to Eastern. Now Fitch is a flyer at Eastern basketball games.

“I missed cheerleading, and I decided to go out for the team here,” Fitch says. “Our team has a lot of potential.”

“[Eastern’s cheerleading] fulfilled me in a way that my other team never did,” Fitch says.

Fitch has had to tackle the stereotypes of cheerleaders in America.

She believes her blonde hair and blue eyes have encouraged some remarks.

“I’ve had people say to me, ‘Oh, you look like a cheerleader’ and I don’t know what that means,” Fitch says. “I don’t like people to make assumptions about my looks or activities. You can’t be air-headed and be a cheerleader.”

Preventing injuries and teamwork are two reasons that cheerleaders have to be intelligent, Fitch says.

“I have an in-depth story to tell, so I don’t want anybody to smack a label on me,” Fitch says. “Everyone has their own story to tell, because you never know where they’ve been or what they’ve seen.”

Fitch acknowledges the strong faith of her teammates.

Likewise, Fitch says that the coaches are very supportive.

She says that the team has prayer requests and support groups.

“We’re going to do really well this year,” Fitch predicts.

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