Don’t feel different and feel like that’s wrong.
Feel different and be proud of it.
These words are definitely the best introduction for Daquan Thompson. He is the proud, inspiring leader of Dynasty Spirit Elite All-Star Cheerleading and Dance. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Coach Thompson chose an important moment to issue these words of encouragement for his girls, a tense segment caught by the cameras in the Double Good-produced documentary “Black Girls Cheer.”
His athletes are different from many of their peers in competitive cheer competitions, but as he says, they know it’s no reason to feel wrong. They don’t fit the mold. They stand out. Different is good, and Coach Thompson’s girls resonate with his call to action. Their pride in what makes them different is palpable.
All of our differences, ultimately, are what make us so similar. No two people are alike, but every single human being is the same because they are unique. Such obvious differences in taste, opinion, upbringing, or even skin color unite us in their commonality.
Dynasty is different, too: they were the world’s first all African-American cheer team to win a Varsity All-Star Triple Crown in 2018. They are definitely different because they don’t look quite like the quintessential cheerleaders, but they let their actions define their success rather than any preconceived notions of what a cheerleader is supposed to be.
Coach Thompson and his girls proved it doesn’t matter what anyone is supposed to look like. It matters what you do. So, they made history. Twice.
Following their historic 2018 season, Dynasty Spirit Elite returned with a spirit, sound, and fury to accomplish something that was, thus far, impossible in the modern world of competition cheer: they won a second Triple Crown in 2019. It is the first time in history that a team has won the Varsity All-Star Triple Crown in consecutive years. Ever. Like, the only time. Basically, it’s never happened before. Not even once.
That is different. That is pride.
Chasamonth Sutton was a member of that 2019 squad. She has been cheering with Dynasty for three years now, though she originally tried out for the dance team. After seeing all of the complex, thrilling things the cheer side was doing, she knew it was something worth pursuing.
“Dynasty Cheer and Dance has taught me to build relationships with my cheer sisters, and has also helped with building my self-esteem,” she said. “Through this program I am learning the true meaning of teamwork, dedication, ownership, and perseverance. I believe this program is teaching me how to become a responsible adult that will know how to handle real life situations, such as time management, ownership, independence, teamwork, and the determination not to give up in a tough situation.”
The young women of Dynasty Spirit Elite accomplished something special. Winning a single championship is the goal of any team. Winning two is a bonus. Gaining friends for life, having a coach like Daquan Thompson, and making history is something that most of us would be lucky to even observe, let alone experience. This, though, is exactly what teams like Dynasty do day in and day out. Working with Double Good gave them some extra push to accomplish their dreams, but it was their desire, talent, and teamwork which brought home the bacon. Or, bacons. Two bacons.
Still, $10,008 of popcorn doesn’t hurt. Raising money with Double Good can certainly help offset the costs of competition and save loads of time. But the support of your coach and the love of your cheer sisters? That’s priceless.