The Story of a High School Cheerleader

Ready… OKAY!


It all started when I visited my high school several days ago. Of all the places that bring me back some memories—the corridor, physics laboratory, and canteen… I suddenly felt so nostalgic when I saw the mini football field.

That’s where my cheerleading squad and I used to train and perform our routines.
Okay, so, believe it or not, I was once a cheerleader during high school.
Yea I know that now I don’t look like one—typical fit-and-healthy athlete body shape, but seriously tho, back then I could even lift a person. Yeah. Something like that.

Anyway. Meet my cheers squad.

FALCON.
FULL TEAM: Harliana, Evelyn, Shirley, Christie, Kishi, Citra, Judith // Vicky, Marcella, Monica, Jennifer, Sheren, Claudia, Cindy, Chavia.

Some of you might think that being a cheerleader is just like, noisy and flirty girls in short skirts (well, sometimes we could be like that)… But cheerleading to me is more than that.
Because when you’re a cheerleader…

You know that this is a sport.

Okay so, I’m not talking about this as a pro athlete or a sport-enthusiast.
But considering that we always start with running and a set of warming-up routine, I think that’s kinda similar with basketball or soccer (besides, we do the splits).

The very first day of our training was extremely hard. And the rest of the month, actually. It was all physical training… you can imagine that.
I honestly didn’t expect that. Heck, did I sign up to be an olympics athlete? I thought we’re  just gonna dance with pom-poms???

But that’s not a prob to us anymore. Because we finally knew that the harder the training, the better.

You believe you can (make people) fly. 

Yeah, because you actually do—thanks to your wings (re: front-side-back bases).
Jenni, Vicky and I are the flyers. And each of us has our own ‘fixed’ sub-team as our bases.

And, I dunno about others, but as for me, I feel like being a flyer can sometimes be difficult too. The 3 main things you should know:
1. We don’t lift people as much as our bases do—that’s true; but we keep ourselves as light as possible. I’m not talking about weight, it’s the cheer-thing: the key is to lock yourself (I often hear my coach said, ‘dikunci badannya, Sheren’).
It’s pretty hard to explain lock here but, it’s like you’re pressing your stomach and just imagine that you’re holding a coin with your 🍑 .
So yea, because our bases will feel it if we’re heavy, we better do it right so we can fly high enough. Or even higher.

2. Face expression is so damn important. When you’re flying, people will automatically look at your movement and your face. And you gotta show ’em your best smile—even if when you’re scared, or you feel so awkward, or when your skirt is not comfortable.

Me: i’m smiling! wait, shit i lost my count / Jen & Vik: if u fall, u better not take us down too

3. Don’t be afraid of heights. Just. Don’t.
Because if you fall, you’ll hurt your bases—and that’s the last thing you wanna do.

You jump, I jump. 

[Ok that’s a bit too cheesy]
I mean, we all jump. Sometimes together, sometimes depends on our ‘exact time’ (counting, remember?). My favourite jump is Star Jump (just imagine Patrick Star hahaha) anddd Herkie. Actually, toe-touch too, but I can’t do it correctly (it’s like you do the split in the air…. yeah).

You say ‘Jump!’, I say ‘How high?’
You only know how to count till 8. 

Every movement in cheerleading depends on counting—and we can’t lose it. When we’re warming up, when we’re doing stunts or learning new dance movement, and even when we’re cooling down… It’s all up to 8. Soooo, you can imagine; when the training gets intense, the voices of 1-2-3-4 5-6-7-8 are all in my head.

 

It’s called multitasking on its best. 

By multitasking, I mean smiling-while-flying. And smiling-while-doingeverythingelse. Basically, we cheerleaders, are all always cheerful (duh). So, even when we yell, we have 3 important things: the movement of each letter and word, how loud our voices are (coz we’re yelling), the yell itself.

G-O. GO FALCON! 
F-I-G-H-T. FIGHT! 
W-I-N. WIN! 
FALCON! GO. FIGHT. WIN!

That’s our basic and trademark yell. And to make it more complicated, there’s one more thing to be consider: tempo.

You’ll learn that nothing worth comes easy. 

I still remember how exhausting it was when we decided to join a competition. We were all busy arranging perfectly-okay-for-everyone training schedules, and at the same time, doing our school stuff.
There was a time when I used to feel like, damn should I just skip tomorrow’s practice and study? And the next day, okay bye chemistry i’m gonna go rehearsing.
But it was all paid off—we didn’t come up as the first but I swear that moment I was so thankful for my coaches and my girls. #Falcon1stWin

When you’re a cheerleader… sometimes you’ll feel like the training gets a bit harder—more bruises, more exhausted faces. But lemme tell you, as the stunts get more complicated with the counting gets faster… the bond between you and your squad gets even stronger.

 

Endure the pain—the show must go on.

To be frank, I have one thing I worry the most everytime Falcon is about to perform: a fail stunt. Mainly, because I can’t keep my balance while flying, or my bases and I have different tempo of counting. And there goes another thing; if I fall, what if I hurt myself and my bases? What will people say about us? About me?

I, myself, was not a super-flyer. I remember how cupu I was. Whenever my stunt failed, I often blamed myself for not being so flexible. Like, why don’t I have a good body-control? Why can’t I do this the right way?
Sometimes my mind was filled with unnecessary stuff during cheers (you name it—school tasks, friends, boys (er, maybe not), etc) and that made me having a great pressure.

But again, you can’t miss the count. So you need to clear your mind for the entire 3 minutes—just be happy and and show ’em what you’ve been trained hard for.

Soooo, for those who still think that being a cheerleader is easy because it’s all about sexy moves and pyramids… Man, you should experience it yourself.
Besides, it’s not that easy—we just make it look like one. *wink*

You’ll know how it feels like to have 14 sisters…

—who are going to the same party with you.
Hours before performing: Make-up kits ready, ribbons everywhere, cameras, and girly talks. But mostly, we were all like, so worried-yet-excited about our performance—so yeah, it’s basically a bit chaotic (in a good way).

 

You have the coolest uniform ever.

—and you’ll feel like you’re so awesome like Torrance from Bring It On and that’s totally normal. Not gonna lie, the uniform is the best and I love the feeling when wearing it. Like, hey look at my flirty skirt and the same time, btw I run, dance, jump, and fly too, ya know. 

[ok so, we perform as TIGERS in our highschool’s big events—since our school created a slogan: Home of TIGERS, including a Tiger mascot. So American, huh.]

Unfortunately, my school is not so-American, so we can only wear it when we perform. Uh, sometimes, during our final rehearsal too—basic tee and the skirt, plus some of our dear teachers who kept complaining saying ‘isn’t that skirt too short?’

And yea, on the other training days, we’ll just wear tee and shorts. The fun part is, each week we’ll decide what colour to wear:

You cheer whenever, and wherever. 

When in grade 10, I went to the same class with Clau and Kishi—and we were just so crazy about cheers because it’s our first year. So often we talked about Bring It On the movies, imitating the yell and simple movements. All we did during P.E lesson was… cheering? Ah-viously. We even tried star jumps, toe-touch, splits. Oh, and the super-famous Shabooya Roll Call.

In grade 11, we went to different classes, but were reunited in Bali during our school study trip. And look how we spent our so-called break time.

ps: no back and front bases. all credit goes to these 2 strong babes.

By the way, other than Bali, we once came to cheer for our friends at their baseball tournament. It wasn’t a formal cheer routine, of course—we mainly shouted That’s alright, that’s okay, we’re gonna win this anyway. Repeat.

You’ll trust your cheermates more than anyone else.

Some of you might be wondering, how do you get down after you’re lifted?
Following the count (usually 5-6-7-8), the bases will take you down and you’re back to the chicken position. But the more exciting part is: cradle.

It’s basically your bases will toss you up a lil bit, and you’ll just lock yourself up—and surrender to the gravity—anddd ta-da! They’ll catch you and you’ll land safely with your arms on your bases’ neck.
Wait, do you get what I mean, tho? Just imagine a Disney princess being carried by the prince charming (in a romantic way. usually when he rescues her & happily ever after. ok stop).

So yeah. In conclusion: when boys out there might not catch you when you fall for them… Your cheer babes will always do.

ps: I’m sorry I don’t have any pics of us when we do the cradle thing.

 

Basically, it’s always a good time with these babes.

For instance: moments before we’re taking a picture.
Look at me and Citra doing the shoulder-sit, and later Citra tried to stand with one leg only.

Btw, shoulder-sit is a really fun thing to do between us. Often we created this ‘race’ thing: two or three pairs of base and flyer, doing shoulder-sit, and then run from one point to another. It’s a hella crazy ride.

Team #KiSher vs Team #ViClau, with Monch being the cheerleader (since Jenni is missing)

We actually have learned to do shoulder-stand, but it was a bit hard for beginners like me (at least) so we couldn’t easily (and recklessly) do the stunt without our coaches’ supervision.

You know that being a cheerleader is one of the best things that has ever happened in your life.

Even if you’re not cheering anymore.
After graduated 3 years ago, some of us didn’t continue our journey as a cheerleader, including me. It’s kinda sad, you know, because I actually never thought that this squad is only ‘high school extra-curricular’. It’s always more than that.

FALCON and our amazing coaches: Kak Mafiez & Kak Dini

But guess what, I have no regrets—when I left Indonesia (and thus, cheerleading) for uni, and when I signed up for cheerleading 6 years ago.
One thing that I always know: 3 years of my life in highschool wouldn’t be the same without cheerleading.

And now it’s been 3 years since the last time I cheered with Falcon, which makes my whole body so inflexible (bye I can’t even do the full split)… I MISS YOU GIRLS A LOT. When I accidentally found our Falcon varsity in my closet, I remember our moments together.
Ok, before this gets too cheesy, I gotta end this.
Anyway, let’s meet up for a mini reunion, shall we? (with Blue and Gold dresscode hahaha)

Go. Fight. Falcon!

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Indonesia, 24/08/16.

ps: photos were taken mainly from FB (Falcon’s and some amazing photographers at my highschool that were tagged to my account hehe)