CHEER 2012 is around the corner, and cheerleaders in the peninsula are putting the finishing touches on their routines, uniforms and dance moves. The competition, which is in its 13th year, will be held at Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam, Selangor, on June 16 and 17.

To get into the mood of the competition, here are four things you need to know about our annual cheerleading competition:

Results are unpredictable

There are teams who have taken the Cheer trophy home multiple times (five-time champions Shirtliff of SMK Seri Bintang Utara, Kuala Lumpur) and there are several stand-out teams to watch every year.

Shirtliff has taken home the trophy multiple times

One thing’s for sure, though, you never know who is going to win, and the process is a nail-biting experience.

An underdog team may come out of nowhere and snap up points while an experienced team could make a tiny error which could cost them the top spot, and it’s always exciting to see the results unfold.

It doesn’t discriminate

For eight years now audiences have been treated to performances by all-boys teams. From the very first boys team to step out onto the Cheer mat in 2004 – SMK Seafield’s Vulcanz from Petaling Jaya – other schools have jumped on the bandwagon and begun training their own all-boys teams, giving the Cheer tournament an interesting demographic.

Boys teams truly add flavour to the mix. While they don’t cheer with poms and don’t spruce up their appearences as much as the girls do, the routines are always fun to watch.

Often, their jumps are higher, their stunts cleaner and there’s just a uniformity about boys’ teams that is mesmerising to watch.

It’s a fashion event

It is amazing to see how much you can do with a cheerleading costume. From stars and stripes to leopard print and metallic decorations, every year the cheerleaders awe us with their beautiful costumes. And that’s just the uniforms!

Most teams also have custom-made sweaters and jumpers the cheerleaders wear when not performing, and each team puts in a lot of effort into their hair and makeup.

The stunts will surprise you

Cheerleading is more than just waving pom-pons and flashing wide grins – some teams train for up to a year prior to the competition to get their routines just right, and most importantly, learn how to “stunt” safely.

Those basket tosses and pyramid stands aren’t easy feats. Every member of the team must be fit, alert and focused as one mistake could result in injury, and practising these stunts over and over again are the only way to get them perfect.

Stunts are difficult to execute but beautiful to watch

Every year the audience holds their breath and lets out a collective sigh, cheering loudly when a difficult stunt is executed flawlessly – the fantastic stunts are reason enough to head on down to check out the competition.

*Keep on the lookout for more information on registration, competition rules and more in R.AGE in weeks to come. Cheer 2012 is organised by The Star’s youth platform R.AGE.

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