By KESSHMITA PARANJOTHI
Captain: Melodie Lim Hann Yi
Team name: Calyx Co-Ed
School: SMJK Katholik
CHEERLEADING requires plenty of discipline and sacrifice and no one knows this better than Calyx Co-Ed team captain Melodie Lim. The determined young lady successfully balances studies and cheerleading, whilst also battling the severe asthma attacks that she gets after each cheer routine. Now that’s dedication!
How many members do you have on your team this year and what are their age ranges?
This year we have 16 members, seven girls and nine boys. Most of us are between the ages of 15 to 17, but we do have a member who is 13 and the baby of the family.
Where do you guys train and do you have a coach?
We train in the sports centre in our school on Saturdays and Sundays. Yes, we do have coaches, Coach Chiaki and Coach Pris from Cheer Aspirations – we call them our mum and dad!
How does having boys on the team give a coed team an advantage/disadvantage?
Sometimes, they can get a little too playful during practices and won’t focus properly. They also get really distracted when a volleyball, football or basketball comes flying past. Usually, after a little scolding, they get very serious. Most of the time, they’re the ones who bring laughter, which never ceases to lighten the mood.
How do you manage both studying and cheer practices?
To be honest, it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Whenever competitions neared, we had to skip classes in order to fit extra practices. It was definitely a challenge for me to catch up with the syllabus again. But it becomes a routine after a while – study hard during the weekdays and practice hard during the weekends. My friends are great too, they make sure to help whenever they see me struggling, especially with Accounts.
How long does it take to perfect the routines?
There isn’t a definite answer, different teams have different strengths and weaknesses after all. I guess it depends on how dedicated and willing you are to push yourself. If you give up easily, you’ll be the one whose stunts or tumbling won’t work out, so perfecting the routine will take longer. It’s not just two and a half minutes of cheer, it is blood, sweat, tears, countless injuries, and months of hard work all rolled into those mere 150 seconds. I tell the team that there are only the good, the better, and the best routines, but no perfect ones. Because even the best have to push and be pushed further.
What sacrifices have you made for cheerleading?
Everyone has to sacrifice when they join a sport where dedication and time is demanded. On many occasions, I’ve had to skip family events such as birthdays, dinners and gatherings in order to look after the team. But my biggest sacrifice is my health. I was born with asthma, and every time after a full routine, I get an attack. It gets worse during competitions because of the air-conditioning. On average, I get either one minor attack or two major ones during full outs. Each attack can last from a minute to up to about fifteen minutes, depending on the situation. A lot of people ask me why I still cheer if it’s so hard for me. It’s because I love the sport and the people I do it with – I owe everything to them.
What are you expecting from the other teams at this year’s CHEER finals?
Definitely more variety in stunts and choreography. So many teams are trying out new things and it’s going to be fun watching all the variations in the routines. CHEER 2015 will definitely be another year of hype and action, especially with the buzz of the new venue (Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre). I wish it could just happen right now!
For more information on CHEER 2015, click here.
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Did you know?
The first official cheer dates back to 1884 and took place at Princeton University in the United States, where the crowd was encouraged to chant at football games.