BY ALLY BLAKE AND PAULA MARTINS
Not only does dressing uniformly bring individuals of a team together, but it also calls attention to the powerful influence that sports have.
Frequent questioning and random acts of kindness are some types of encouragement that senior Allison Lopez, who is a varsity basketball cheerleader, receives on a typical game day as she walks around campus in her uniform.
“People tend to respect me more and are nicer. They hold the door open for me or start a conversation,” Lopez said.
Lopez said that wearing her cheer uniform to school brings expectations of her due to stereotypes.
“We are usually expected to be a lot more enthusiastic and energetic,” Lopez said.
Head cheerleading coach Erica Wells said that when athletes dress out it promotes a sense of unity, pride, and school spirit.
“Sharing the same overall appearance with your teammates diminishes any individual differences and thus makes you feel like part of a group, something bigger than yourself,” Coach Wells said.
She added that it also brings the community together.
“It helps teachers and other students recognize the cheerleaders as active parts of Cypress Bay’s culture,” she said.
When dressing up in his dress suit on JV football game days, sophomore Brandon Moore said he gets more attention than usual.
“My friends give me hugs and take pictures with me,” Moore said. “They give me a dollar to buy a drink with before the game because they worry that I’ll be thirsty.”
Moore said wearing the suit on game days, which is required of all team members, is not only an external factor; there is intrinsic motivation as well.
“I feel like a professional when I dress up and I feel good about myself,” he said.
Sophomore Alexander Cassitta said that not all athletes have pleasant experiences while dressed out on game days.
“My teachers do tend to treat me differently,” said Cassitta, a JV football player. “I have certain teachers that, I guess, did not have good experiences with football players, so they are more likely to stereotype us.”
Cassitta said that like most stereotypes, not all are applicable to him.
“The typical stereotype is that we are just dumb jocks. I’m not like that because I’m a student before an athlete,” he said.
Sophomore Georgi Cowan said she has also had displeasing incidents.
“People tend to stare at me and give me weird looks,” she said.
Junior Lauren Aleman, a varsity basketball player, said that coordinating outfits with the rest of the team unites them together and creates a sense of team spirit.
“It usually signifies that we’re classy at school, but once we get to the court we know we’re going to dominate,” she said.