The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed Lorenzo Gilbert as the new squad member for the 2019 football season. This is a first for Tampa Bay. Gilbert is among 17 male choreographed dance cheerleaders representing NFL teams.
“It’s a big role because at the end of the day, they can never take away the fact that I was the first,” Gilbert told the Tampa Bay Times.
Before 2018 there had been no men on any NFL choreographed dance cheerleading squad. Only last year were other male dancers added to the different major NFL football teams, such as the Seahawks and the Patriots.
In recent years, the Team has focused on being inclusive and diverse.
The tryouts are intense, with only a select few actually making it through. More than 100 candidates had tried out for the team, including other men, but few had the necessary skill sets of Gilbert.The candidate selected has to be an elite team dancer, with athleticism, poise, and talent as just some of the requirements to make the cut.
Gilbert stated he hopes this does not discourage men as well as women – gay, straight or otherwise – to stop them from pursuing this as a career if this is what they want to do. If anything, he hopes this ground-breaking accomplishment will serve as an inspiration to all dancers who have a goal of becoming the first of their kind.
“If this inspires men, women, anyone to come out and be a part of our team, that just makes everything better.”
Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.