When Kyle Tanguay moved to Las Vegas, Eagles Nation found him.
Almost every Sunday this NFL season, Tanguay plopped himself inside of Torrey Pines Pub, the preeminent Eagles bar in the Sin City.
It’s quite a role reversal for the self-described flamboyant dancer who grew up loathing football. But after two years cheerleading for the Philadelphia Eagles, he fell in love with the game, and just as importantly, the fans.
This Sunday, Tanguay can’t wait to watch the Super Bowl with his new football family.
“At the end of the day, people have all their views on the world and stuff, but whenever you’re with Eagles people, nobody cares,” he told Outsports. “We can hate each other after this conversation, but during it, it’s like, ‘Oh my God! Did you see that?!’”
Tanguay discovered his love of football through happenstance. When he moved to Philadelphia to attend The University of the Arts, his life revolved dance.
He even had a solo rehearsal during the Super Bowl.
While Tanguay was chasing his dream in the studio, he didn’t have many hobbies outside of it. That changed when a good friend of his made the Eagles cheerleading team. She regaled him with stories about her NFL experience, and her boyfriend was a huge Eagles fan, too.
Tanguay watched every game that season, and as luck would have it, the Eagles won the Super Bowl — besting the vaunted New England Patriots in a 41-33 classic.
It was a sign from above. Tanguay hasn’t stopped watching since.
“After that, I was hooked forever,” he said.
The following year, Tanguay successfully tried out for the Eagles cheerleading squad, making him one of at least nine male NFL cheerleaders in 2019. These days, the league is now flooding with out gay male cheerleaders.
Last season, for example, the Los Angeles Rams took five gay male cheerleaders to the Super Bowl.
Tanguay’s experience with the Eagles turned him on to the game even more.
“I loved interacting with the fans. I was real lucky to have a super positive experience with the fans,” he said.
In other words, Eagles Nation became one of Tanguay’s chosen families. He’s kept in touch with fans on social media, and throughout this season, his fellow Vegas transplants hounded him to join the party at Torrey Pines.
Tanguay says his first trip there was like “stepping into a Philadelphia embassy.” He even traveled to Arizona this season with some of his fellow patrons, and watched the Eagles beat the Cardinals, keeping their early undefeated streak intact.
He’s the only dancer in the group, and that’s just fine with him.
“I really like having something that’s way outside of my box,” he said. “Being a gay dancer, going to football games isn’t exactly what everyone is doing in the community.”
There is a stigma against sports fans in some pockets of the gay community. When Tanguay tells guys about his football fandom, he’s sometimes met with funny looks.
The pro dancer is happy to disabuse anybody he meets from their preconceived notions about football.
“The boys’ jaws hit the floor,” he says. “They’re like, ‘How do you know all of this?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I’m just into it.’ The same way they could name every person on ‘RuPauls’ Drag Race.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh! This one play! It was wild!’ It’s definitely a fun card to pull out.”
The Eagles are underdogs Sunday against the mighty Kansas City Chiefs, just like they were five years ago against the Patriots. For Tanguay, that just makes the experience more enjoyable.
“Even when we won the Super Bowl, there’s always an excuse from everyone, ‘Oh, they got lucky!,’” he said. “So I think they have what it takes, because obviously Philly loves to be the underdog, and I hope they win.”