A video of a Virginia dad performing his high school daughter’s cheer routine from the stands has gone viral, bringing a little bit of joy to a community that’s currently mourning the loss of three of its own.
Rolland “Hekili” Holland recently asked his 15-year-old cheerleader daughter, Mackenzi, to teach him her cheers for football games.
Not only does the father of three enjoy being able to support his daughter, who’s a sophomore at York High School, but he also likes the the energy at high school football games.
“I’ve always liked high school football games and I always wanted to go to them even before I had kids,” Holland told NBC’s “Today.”
“But you can’t go to a high school football game as 23-24 year old guy and not be the creeper, so now that we have Mackenzi there, we have a reason to go support her and have fun.”
Once he finally learned the cheers well enough, he began doing the same cheers as his daughter and her squad from the stands.
This caught the attention of fellow fans in the bleachers.
Even Mackenzi’s cheerleading coach noticed Holland’s routines.
“As a coach, I truly admire our parents and their support for my athletes,” Taylor Fox, the school’s head sideline cheerleading coach, said. “Parental support, I believe, is very important to my kids — it shows the athletes they have someone in their corner supporting them in something they enjoy doing.”
During the district championship game on Nov. 1, fellow parent Scott Willard noticed Holland’s enthusiastic moves and knew others needed to witness them, too.
“I watched him for most of the game. I was thinking, this guy is rocking it,” Willard said. “It was the fourth quarter and York scored and he did it again.
“I leaned over to my wife and jokingly said, ‘If York scores again, I’m making this guy go viral.’ I honestly didn’t think it would.”
Willard posted the video later that evening along with the caption, “This guy right here needs to go viral. By far CHEER DAD OF THE YEAR!!!!!!”
It quickly went viral:
Holland’s daughter first alerted him to his newfound viral fame.
“Mackenzi came in the room and said, ‘Dad, you’re on Facebook! You’ve gotten 4,000 views in the last hour!’ And it has just grown from there,” Holland recalled.
“I’m a fun-loving guy — if you talk to my wife or any friend of mine, they’ll tell you — I’m a little extra at times.”
Mackenzi didn’t deny that her dad can be “extra,” but said it doesn’t embarrass her.
“A lot of people think I would have been embarrassed but I’m really not,” she said.
“I’m just proud that my dad’s here and that he’s doing everything with me.”
Although the video itself is a sweet display of a father unapologetically supporting his daughter, Holland said the uplifting, viral moment couldn’t have come at a better time for his local community.
On Oct. 26, three students from a neighboring high school were killed in a tragic car accident on their way back from the homecoming dance, according to WTVR.
“It looked like the car had gone through a wood chipper,” one of the victim’s close friends told WAVY.
The following night, over 1,000 people gathered to pay tribute and remember the young lives that were taken too soon.
“It was a very somber week leading up to [the game],” Holland told “Today.”
“People have reached out saying this was what the community needed and that it provided a bit of hope and help with overcoming that sadness.”
The viral video and the story behind it is a great example of not only how a community grieves together, but also how it rebuilds together.
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