As many people know, I’m part of the UCB Cheerleading society and on March 16 and March 23, we had competitions. This is a huge deal as we have been training for months, learning routines, perfecting backcombing (don’t get me started) and getting organised for competitions. As part of the countdown to competition, some of us quit alcohol (honestly, someone buy me a cosmopolitan on the 23rd after comp, please!), or cut down (in a month-and-a-half, I’ve had one Bellini and two gin and tonics at special occasions, which I think’s pretty good).
When the word cheerleader comes to mind, what do you think of? The Bring It On movies? Pom-poms and skimpy skirts? In some respects, yes, some of these answers are correct, but what I have realized through my year of being on the cheer team, is it’s so much more. Cheerleading is an intense and exciting sport. A sport with determined, hard-working, strong women (and men, go Evan!) who are committed to a sport that many perceive as easy girly cliche, but is actually the hardest athletic team I’ve ever been a part of. When I joined, all I thought of were pom-poms and bows, but even since September, I can see a clear difference in my athletic ability, far more than I can with any other sport I’ve played.
Cheerleading, by no mean feat, is easy or for the fragile, as throwing others in the air, completing bear crawls, sweating through your gym clothes and committing around five hours of your week to perfecting something ready to perform at a competition is hard. As well as competing against universities from across the country, often with teams much bigger than ours, isn’t easy. Even as the biggest society at UCB, the friendships and teamwork within this group has been amazing to be a part of and I really hope this makes all the captains’ and coaches’ hard work worth it.
As part of cheer, I’ve never been fallen on and accidentally punched, slapped and head-butted more in my life (the injuries are for real, once I nearly broke my nose), but even though when I wake up every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I can barely walk due to the aches and pains (I sound like such an old person), it’s been worth it getting to go on that mat and perform our little bows off with the audience cheering!
So, two competitions over! In the BCA university nationals 2019 in Derby, the UCB Cakes came 4th in the Level 1 Co-ed with a total deductions of -0.25 (which is incredible!!). We also didn’t drop a single stunt and if I do say so myself, we did pretty amazing! For the Legacy competition, we came 3rd, which was absolutely amazing, especially on my birthday! We also didn’t drop a stunt and the scores were so close. Overall, at both competitions, we did so amazing and everyone looked great in their great, new uniforms and bows.
This team and these girls have completely been my uni experience and signing up for UCB Cheer has to be one of my better decisions! These girls have been such a support network and over the last few weeks especially, I’ve been overwhelmed by their kindness given various personal situations. Freshers, next year, be prepared for being dropped and battered, but also having the best uni experience!