The 'Cupid Shuffle' has become fun mainstay at Gresham Nationals games

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Gresham Nationals outfielder Christian 'Burner' Turner has been unofficially voted the best dancer by his teammates, as he shows off a few steps of the Cupid Shuffle in the bleachers at Volunteer Stadium in Williamsport, Pa.WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The Gresham National all-stars have shined on the field this summer en route to the Little League World Series, turning double plays, hitting home runs and recording strikeouts. But it’s their dance moves that are truly capturing an audience.

The team was the hit during its regional run in San Bernardino, Calif., based almost solely on its ability to celebrate in style.

It all started at a team barbecue early in the season. The coaches went inside for a meeting, leaving the players and parents to plot important things such as celebrations.

Trent Pederson, older brother to catcher Tyler, remembered a choir trip he was on when the “Cupid Shuffle” became all the rage. With the parents urging him on, Trent taught the dance to the team, and they tried it out when the coaches returned to the backyard.

“They busted it out and were just cracking up laughing,” Gresham assistant coach Craig Hemenway said. “They thought it was goofy at first, but we kept winning tournaments, and the dance just kept going.”

The team rule allowed the dance to be performed only after winning a championship game. The team brought home a couple travel tournament trophies and cruised through district before the players got serious heading into state. A win there meant the coaches would have to join in on the line dance in front of the dugout.

Sure enough, the team won again. And yes, the coaches danced — sort of.

“It was hilarious,” Gresham pitcher Hunter Hemenway said. “They got out there with us, but you could tell they didn’t really know what to do.”

The team arrived for regionals in San Bernardino, and the song was randomly played for the stadium as the players were taking the field between innings.

“They all paused for a moment, looking at us to see if they should dance,” Trent said. “We shook them off, and stood up in the bleachers and did it ourselves.”

That started a trend, as the song would be played at least once during every Gresham game. Soon their bunkmates from Petaluma Little League joined in, followed by random fans in the stands until the front row was filled with jiggling bodies.

“Everybody would get really excited when it came on, and just throw their stuff down and start dancing,” Pederson said. “Pretty soon we had people all the way down the first-base line doing it.”

Of course, the team didn’t get a chance to party until it knocked off Post Falls, Idaho, in the championship game, although players say you can often catch Christian Turner doing a bit of the dance when he makes his way to his spot in the outfield.

“Turner has so much fun with it out there, it’s hard not to join in,” says pitcher Hemenway.

“He has all the best moves,” teammate Ethan Meckel says.

The dance has followed the team across the country and was a popular topic of conversation during Monday’s media interviews with ESPN, which took footage of the dance for almost five minutes. The video is likely to be used in ESPN's Little League coverage.

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