Can you tell me a little about yourself?
H : I’m Hannah, the president of Monash Cheerleading Club. I started cheer when I was in college, about 18 years old. I had a year break before I got into cheerleading again in Monash University. I have previously joined 2 Monash Cups under cheerleading team for Leviathan, which makes me experienced about 2 years now!
T : I’m Tessa, the vice president of Monash Cheerleading Club. I started cheer only from last year’s Monash Cup for Leviathan and one day they invited me to be a part of Monash’s Cheerleading team and from then on, I keep going.
H : We decided to develop ourselves as to more of an international ground. For example, last year we went for a championship competition in The Curve, KL where they had competitors from Singapore coming in. The result was not good, but at least we had our first exposure as team Monash. Now we’re building it up as we are going for ICSE so it’s a progress! Last year’s competition had a total of 9 team members, and for ICSE, there’s 17 team members altogether. We’re slowly growing!
Was becoming a cheerleading president a plan you had in mind for some time?
H : Not really. Previously we had better senior cheerleaders who were from outside teams in our university. They were the ones who formed this club.
T : Technically, we broke down the club structure and we are working on rebuilding it. We started from an intimate committee among a few of us who are really passionate about the club and the sport. Now we are planning to expand as we have more members.
How do you manage between being a cheerleading president and also juggling other activities(e.g.. studying, tutoring, socialising…)?
H : One thing about sports is that once you have passion, you must be ready to put commitment, time and money into it. We have a fixed training schedule and we stick to that. Sometimes we will have additional trainings but that is all. You must manage your time well and even though you are busy, you must stick to the training regime and your daily schedule. It is quite tiring but enjoyable because you love the sport!
T : For me, I have family, cheerleading, studies, and also subcommittee duties for the climbing club. How I manage is by using all the 24 hours I have in the day. I do not think I have time to procrastinate. If I stop, I won’t be able to get back on my feet in time for the next agenda.
Are there any challenges you faced being a cheerleader?
T : Flexibility is definitely one of the challenges for flyers. I did ballet when I was a kid, and yoga in between but because I stopped, my flexibility has gone of to mars or somewhere…. *laughs*. I have to rebuild it again and I did improve ever since I joined cheerleading club under Leviathan. At that time, my splits were only half the splits other flyers could do. Now, it is at least three quarters which I am pretty proud although it is painful. Hence we would like to inform the public that you do not need flexibility or experience to become a cheerleader. As long as you have the determination, commitment, and also perseverance because you will have to persevere through the pain. Training for flexibility is not just the stretching as there are exercises such as holding our legs at a certain angle for some time. Those are the exercises that you have to persevere through. And you can’t just do it once a week, that won’t work. A few times per week at least to get some progress.
H : For me, I’m a base and usually strength is one of the challenges. As for myself, I am quite strong but there are limitations. As long as I maintain the strength works, I will be fine. Actually one of our challenges as a club is to find enough members that has the same amount of passion that we have and are willing to give the same commitment as a team.
T : In cheer, I can’t do my stunts alone. So, team members are important as much as everything else. And they must be committed. All of us have the same tight schedule more or less.
I heard that the cheerleading club is going for a competition soon. How are preparations going on so far?
T : We’ve got the full routine up but it’s not perfect, and still need to be polished. Transportations and accommodations for the competition are all settled. The competition is on 1st April at The Marquee, Downtown East in Singapore.
Do you have any words for those who wants to start cheerleading?
H : Big shoutout to all the guys that cheerleading is not a sissy kind of sport. It requires skills, techniques, and strengths. In my opinion, most guys hesitate to join cheerleading because they think it’s sissy and there are a lot of girls. If you see male professional cheerleaders, they are really bulky. I don’t want people to think that cheerleading is mainly for girls. In higher levels, most of the cheerleading routines does not include poms.
T : And there’s also misconception of pink.
H : It’s nothing like that. Poms are just an element in which you can not put it in. For pink, that just depends on the team colour. Guys can come and try because it’s definitely an exciting challenge. It’s also considered as an extreme sport. You get to learn new stuff because there are thousands of stunts to try. You might fail on your first try but after a few more tranings, when you get it, it feels really fulfilling.
T : The key is to have the harmony between within the stunt group. We encourage people to bring their friends even though they are scrawny and tiny. As long as you get your techniques right, you will be able to base someone else. It also applies to girls where some of them are skinny. Our previous president is around 50kg but she’s a really good flyer and because of that guys with mediocre size are able to base her. It’s all in the harmonization, communication and techniques. Also, a common misconception about cheerleading is that we dance and jump as when we like. This is definitely influenced by movies and tv shows. Cheerleading is an extreme sport, and a real deal!
(All pictures are taken directly from C&S Division – Monash Malaysia)