A video of Rolland "Hekili" Holland performing the same cheerleading routine as his daughter from the stands at a York High School football game has gone viral, but the Virginia dad says having more than three million people view his moves on Facebook isn't the most important thing that's come from learning the routine.
"There are three schools in our community that are really close to each other," Holland told TODAY Parents. "On the weekend prior to the game, unfortunately, three players from another high school were killed in a car accident, so it was a very somber week leading up to it. 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."
Holland, who has three daughters ranging in age from 5 to 15, says he asked his daughter, Mackenzi, to teach him her routine a few weeks ago — practicing for 20 or 30 minutes at a time until he had it down — and began performing it along with the squad from his seat in the bleachers a few games back. Holland and his wife, Lindsey, had seen people videoing him with their phones during his antics, but hadn't paid much attention.
But, at the York Falcons' November 1 game — a district championship — Holland was videoed by a fellow parent, Scott Willard, who later shared the clip on Facebook saying, "This guy right here needs to go viral. By far cheer dad of the year!"
Willard's wish came true, with millions of people viewing, sharing and commenting on the video.
"I watched him for most of the game. I was thinking, this guy is rocking it," said Willard of his now viral video clip. "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."
Holland says his daughter, Mackenzi, who is a sophomore at York High School, alerted him of the video going viral.
"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," said Holland. "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 says seeing her "extra" father go viral has been fun for her and her cheerleading squad.
"A lot of people think I would have been embarrassed but I'm really not," said the 15 year old. "I'm just proud that my dad's here and that he's doing everything with me."
Taylor Fox is an alumni of York High School and the head sideline cheerleading coach for the school. Fox says when she and her team noticed Holland doing the moves along with them a few games ago, they loved his enthusiasm.
"As a coach, I truly admire our parents and their support for my athletes," said Fox. "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."
Holland says in addition to helping his community smile during a heartbreaking week, he's also glad to have a good excuse to attend 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," said Holland. "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."