Desert Ridge High School’s homecoming pep assembly came and went last week — and the Jaguettes never showed at the Gilbert Unified School District school located in Mesa.
The short-lived tradition at the 4-year-old high school thrived on senior male athletes — usually football players — recruiting underclass teammates to dress like females and dance in front of their cheering classmates.
This year, the Jaguettes were listed on the pep rally agenda. But Gilbert district spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said there weren’t enough students interested in participating.
The school’s athletic director, Darrell Stangle, said the football players were asked to keep their minds on the game.
"As an AD, I despise it," Stangle said.
"We are trying to teach these kids to be competitors, and they are dressing up like girls and dancing. It kind of goes against . . . what I’d like to be happening. I couldn’t believe there were kids that are willing to embarrass themselves like that."
Stangle said the school is trying to improve its football record. This year, the Jaguars have two wins and three losses heading into tonight’s game against top-ranked and twotime defending state champion Hamilton High School in Chandler. Last year, the Jaguars finished 1-10.
"We are trying to change a mindset here," Stangle said.
"We have a brand new school, and we have kids that don’t know how to win yet. We are trying to teach these kids what it takes mentally and physically to be winners. . . .
"When we have kids, who are supposed to be leaders of our team, who have more time focusing on (the Jaguettes) than spending time preparing for the game, then yeah, I have a problem with it."
Stangle said the team is already the "laughingstock" of the East Valley.