Do you feel as though you are seeing double? You could be. Brothers and fraternal twins Aaron and David Charapata are on campus, and they are members of the UW-Green Bay Phoenix Spirit Squad.
The sophomores stumbled upon cheerleading at their freshman orientation. They were walking across campus when a group of young women yelled, “We need men for cheerleading.” Before the brothers could react, Aaron recalls, there came another incentive.
“She yelled, ‘We cheer for the Green Bay Packers,’ and I instantly joined,” Aaron said. “I am a huge Packers fan.”
The squad of 11 women and 10 men share cheer responsibilities at home Packers games with the St. Norbert College cheer team.
The Charapata twins attended Marquette High School in Milwaukee and were involved in many sports, but had never cheered before attending UW-Green Bay. Now it’s something they do dozens of times per year, whether it’s on the Lambeau Field sidelines for eight Packers games, or at the Resch Center or Kress Events Center for Phoenix men’s and women’s games. (With their height and strength, the Charapatas are particularly good at being “slingshot holders” for the popular Chicken Toss during basketball timeouts.) The brothers say they are still learning a great deal from their coaches, Ann Rodrian and Andrew Branam, such as being successful means extensive strength training and discipline.
“Being on a cheerleading team requires you to be strong,” David said. “However, you can be the strongest man and not be able to do a simple stunt like a ‘chair’ where a girl is tossed onto the guy’s hand and sits on it like a chair. Therefore, practicing with girls on tossing and timing is also needed.”
The Charapatas chose UW-Green Bay because of the location, cost, size and atmosphere of the University.
“It is smaller than most Division I schools which is great because it is easier to get a hold of your teachers for help,” Aaron said. “Also, the people are down to earth and the scenery around campus is a nice touch.”
“Fit” mattered to David, as well. “I chose to come to UW-Green Bay because the school isn’t uncomfortably large like a Big Ten school, but they have more to offer than smaller schools.”
Being a twin on a college campus is amusing, according to Aaron.
“I get head nods from people I don’t know and I will give the head nod back assuming the person thinks I am my twin,” he said. “When I meet someone new they will always say ‘I feel like I see you around campus a lot’ and I just tell them I have a twin and then everything makes sense.”
When asked if they ever have fun pulling the “twin switch” on anyone, Aaron admitted to using the prank in middle school with some regularity, “but it was all in good fun.” David was quiet on the subject, which makes one wonder…
– Story by Daniele Frechette, editorial intern, Office of Marketing and Communication
– Photos by Mike Roemer ‘86