Cheerleaders. What are they exactly? Dancers? Gymnast? Athletes? Or little girls prancing around in mini-skirts?
Many see cheerleading as…”OKAY~! 2, 4, 6, 8! Who do we appreciate?!” *high-kicks* Seriously now, that’s really old and I can assure you in none of the routines do we start with ‘OKAY!’. I’d show you the whole cheerleading history and the timeline of its development, but you can always just Google that. Here’s something less formal and more up-to-date.
It had its origins in America. So, no cheerleading in Malaysia? Wrong!
We have the annual CHARM (Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia) Cheerleading Competition and teams of cheerleaders have participated – from the Pee Wee teams all the way to Level 6 All-Stars and Varsity. The competition is also open to teams from other countries such as Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, and the US. On an international scale, we have the ICU Cheer World Championship by The International Cheerleading Union.
What are some of the cheerleading teams in Malaysia?
Well, we have our very own Team Malaysia Cheerleading Team, which comprises some of the best cheerleading teams in Malaysia. One of them – Cheer Aces – appeared on ESPN earlier this year. They are also coaches to the many cheerleading teams across Malaysia, including mine. Our other teams include CHARM and the Rebels.
We cheer, obviously, along with some awesome stunts, flips, jumps and tumbles! You can find many of the unbelievable cheerleading flips and tumbles on YouTube. Here are a few all-time favourite moves:
When we have our squad members with us, we are able to carry out awesome formations and group stunts. Here’s one from our very own Team Malaysia and Cheer Aces Cheerleading Team.
People would laugh whenever we try to get them to join cheerleading. For us university students, it’s always during club recruitment drive. The first thing most people would ask is,”do you wave your pom poms around?” Yes, I see how it can be a big misunderstanding because in most movies we watch, cheerleaders use pom poms.
We do have these, but for most cheerleading teams with a focus on stunting, pom poms are almost never used. Like other sports, we have our very own shoes. This is one of the famous brands for cheerleading shoes (featured also in ‘Bring It On – The Musical’):
Cheerleaders are not ditzy, as most stereotypical people would expect us to be. As a cheerleader, you need to make time for three-hour hardcore practice sessions, on top of handling your classes in school/university the next day. As for most of our guy Bases, they get mocked to no end for joining the cheerleading team.
If having to do strength training with girls by lifting and throwing them up in the air is bad, I don’t see how running around a field bumping into other sweaty guys can be any better (no offence to other sports).
Seriously, guy cheerleaders are buff! How on earth are they able to single-handedly carry a few girls at the same time?! Look.
Did you know that our strength training and injuries are just as serious as those in other sports?
The list of exercises given by our coaches to work on our legs and arms are crazy. That of course explains how and where cheerleaders get their killer legs, toned abs and arms. Cheerleading takes courage and requires consistent training. Most cheerleaders have a strong and feisty attitude because they know what they do is not easy, and that they have to keep at it with a smile on their faces.
The injuries that come during and after training are not minor as well. In competitions, you’ll see cheerleaders with knee-guards, ankle-guards and many other guards you can think of. Even though safety is our most important rule, accidents sometime happen as they cannot be avoided in time. Most just shake it off and try again – proof of how they have pushed and continue to push – knowing the amount of effort they have put in together to win.
No, I may not be the best Cheerleader. I am certainly not a world champion, but yes, I do train extremely hard at every practice. I have been made fun of for being a Cheerleader but no, I won’t let that or anything else stop me from doing something I love with all my heart.