Roland Pollard and his five-year-old daughter, Jayden, are putting a new spin on the sport of cheerleading – and it falls squarely in the don’t-try-this-at-home category!
The pair from Texas in the US have been performing daring stunts since before the little girl could walk but they didn’t start getting serious until earlier this year.
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“After quarantine happened we just stunted all day every day at home and she learnt more and more skills,” Roland says.
Jayden’s passion for the activity runs in her family. Mom Stephanie is a former gymnast, and Roland (both 30) is a former cheerleading coach.
“I’ve always been used to him having her in the air. He’s also put me in the air before,” Stephanie says.
Their routines, which consist of perilous moves such as flipping, tossing and spinning, aren’t for the fainthearted.
In a recent clip shared on his Instagram account, Roland can be seen lifting Jayden above his head by her arms and then flipping her over before she gracefully lands with both feet in his hands.
“The amount of trust it took on both ends for this to stick is insane. I love when we hit a stunt for the first time together,” he captioned the post that received more than 11 000 likes.
“I believe fear is a taught or learnt trait and I’ve never
given her a reason to be afraid. She doesn’t necessarily push me directly, but
when I see she gets a skill down, I always try and make it harder. I love my
daughter with all of my heart and would never put her at risk.”
In many of their shared videos, Roland can be heard motivating Jayden, who sometimes struggles to perfect a stunt.
“If she’s so successful while crying, what will she do when she’s full of self-confidence?” Roland captioned a video of a tearful Jayden performing a double flip.
But not everyone is a fan. The father of two – the Pollards also have a seven-month-old son, Jax – has come in for a lot of flak from some online users, who feel these kind of moves are too dangerous for a child.
Recently, Roland also started performing stunts with Jax. “I think we may have another adrenaline junkie on our hands!” he captioned a video of his baby boy standing upright in his palm before tossing, spinning and flipping him into the air.
He’s used to carrying humans who weigh 54kg, Roland says.
“There hasn’t been one week in the past 13 years in which I haven’t held a human like that,” he said in response to critics, adding there’s no way he’d let his son fall.