Varsity published another article of mine! Boo yeah they did. Exciting stuff!
A FRESH START
2, 4, 6, 8…such a sequence would, in the Cambridge environment, probably generate numerous mathematical formulae, musical measures, rhythmic constructions or genetic formulations.
In this atmosphere of academia, where hard-nosed intellect reigns supreme, the last thing one would ascribe to this series would be something as frivolous as cheerleading.
After all, isn’t cheerleading is the quintessential pastime of American high-school dumb blondes, where foolish chanting and ridiculous dancing are flaunted in an inane attempt to impress mindless jocks? Surely Cambridge undergraduates, hand-picked for their first-rate intelligence, have far better things to do with their time than ponce about with pom-poms?
Apparently not. For a number of years now, a daring faction of radical students has been meeting twice a week to engage in such audacious activities. Their membership has been growing at an alarming rate and, if their success in recent competitions is anything to go by, they are a force to be reckoned with. They call themselves the Cambridge Cougars, and they can be found on the prowl at several sporting events in the city, ready to pounce on their innocent, unassuming prey.
Perhaps it was their infectious smiles, their boundless energy or their dazzling outfits, but within days of joining the University, I too had joined the dark side. Before I could even “Give you a ‘Why’” I was throwing High Vs, jumping herkies, catching cradles and donning spankies as part of the Cambridge University cheerleading squad. It was, like, totally awesome.
But any prior assumptions I had of cheerleading being an undemanding, lightweight activity were immediately backflipped away. I was plunged into high-impact stunts, tumbles and dance sequences that demanded infinite reserves of energy and unlimited stores of strength. I was placed in a stunt team in which one false move meant the collapse of our unsettlingly trustful ‘flyer’. And when I asked about the pom poms, I was met with the sardonic reply, “Real cheerleaders don’t use pom poms.”
What, then, had I let myself in for? An hour into my first training session, having been expected to produce multiple jumps, hold complicated balances and display unnatural flexibility, I realised that cheerleading is anything but the sport of hysterical teenage girls. It requires absolute commitment and dedication, and maximum levels of fitness coupled with spirit and determination. Being a cheerleader is hard work – but I love it.
So, boys, next time you ogle at the group of girls supporting your team from the sidelines, remember that cheerleaders are more than just eye candy. It might look like we’re flaunting our skills, but a huge amount of work has gone into that performance – we’ve just perfected the art of making it look effortless.