Sunday, August 19, 2018

NFL: Jesse Hernandez debuts as first male Saintsation

No. Nonono.  Fuck no.
After spending about $100 on lower-bowl tickets and driving 2½ hours from the Lafayette area, Tracey Hernandez was nervous as she took her seat near midfield of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday night.

It wasn’t the preseason game the Saints were about to play against Arizona that worried her — the dance instructor hardly watches football. What mattered to her was how her son, Jesse, would fare in his debut as the first-ever male member of the Saintsations, New Orleans’ NFL dance team.

The crowd in the stadium was the biggest Jesse had performed in front of since his dancing career began 23 years ago, at the age of 2.

The teasing and taunts he braved when he became the first boy to perform on the dance team at North Vermilion High School in his hometown of Maurice still stung Tracey.

But she calmed herself by reciting Jesse’s achievements up to this point — the competitions he’s won, the instructor gigs, his stint coaching the dance team for a minor-league hockey franchise in Lafayette that she herself once danced for.

She remembered how countless people had come up to her after word broke that Jesse had made the Saintsations and told her, “We are proud of him; we support him; give him our congratulations” — even burly men visiting the Harley-Davidson motorcycle shop where she works.

While she admitted being annoyed at online commenters who in recent weeks had insulted her son’s masculinity for becoming a Saintsation, she brushed them aside as kickoff time approached.

“Those people just need to get over it,” said Tracey Hernandez, who attended Friday’s game with three family friends, one of whom had an oversized, cutout picture of her son’s face.

“We’re in 2018. Things shouldn’t be just for men or just for women. If you have the ability to do it, you should be able to do it.”

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No. - Minuteman

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