Cameron Hughes is a professional sports fan.
Since the mid-’90s, the Ottawa native who now calls Victoria home has turned the art of the cheer, into a career.
“I was always a bit crazy in high school, I didn’t make the team so I went to cheer them on,” said the 49-year-old Hughes. “I became a mascot and then finally one night, I decided to rip off the masks and just go for it on my own and I got the crowd going at a Senators game and the fans were looking at me very shocked, like, who is that guy?”
He danced like no one was watching, but caught the eyes and attention of many.
“They brought me back and then other teams found out and I started touring and next thing I know, I’ve been to 41 states, nine provinces and 10 different countries around the world.”
He’s riled up crowds at the Stanley Cup finals and danced with Novak Djokovic on Centre Court at the U.S. Open.
Hughes has no shortage of stories, so he decided to write a book titled King of Cheer.
“It’s about a journey, you know, it’s about finding something you love to do and finding a way to make a living at it, and trust me, it was not easy,” said Hughes, who had extra time on his hands to write and release the book due to the pandemic putting the sports world on pause.
Hughes still pinches himself from time to time having attended some of the world’s biggest sporting events over the past25 years and getting paid to do so.
He believes none of it would be possible without receiving some invaluable advice from his late mother, who passed away from cancer when he was just a teenager.
“When I didn’t make the basketball team, she was like ‘maybe there’s another way you can contribute to the team and be part of something’ and that did well for me.”
So whether it’s getting an entire arena on its feet, or starting the wave with strangers at a local croquet club during a pandemic, Hughes has one golden rule.
“The cheer you give is the cheer you get,” he said.