SIX trophies. 78 members. All smiles.
Behind the impressive haul by the RP Rexaz Cheerleading team at the Cheerleading Association Singapore National Cheerleading Competition 2015, however, lies a tale riddled with the figurative blood, sweat and tears.
Retaining their championship title for the third consecutive year is no mean feat, for the members had to prove their mettle in the cheerleading routine as well as in the academic performance.
Class attendance and examination grades were checked on a regular basis. The minimum GPA of 2.0 had to be met or you’re out of the team.
Having intensive training that can stretch the full seven days of the week was not acceptable as an excuse for dismal academic performance. Neither was the extreme physical exhaustion often felt after training sessions. Not even the occasional injuries.
And that’s just how RP Rexaz Cheerleading team nurtures its champions.
At the end of the school day, as other students go home, catch up with friends or earn extra income, you could see a group of students in luminous green T-shirts running across campus and cheering loudly.
It’s the RP Rexaz Cheerleading team.
Physical training is an integral part in the cheerleading training to build up one’s stamina and ensure that nobody passes out halfway through the routine.
“It’s a common sight to see the cheerleaders running around school, be it morning or evening time. They work really hard and I respect them for their dedication,” said Aow Shi Hui, a second-year student in the School of Sports, Health and Leisure (SHL).
As there are five different components in cheerleading (Cheer, Gymnastics, Stunts, Dance and Pyramids), each day was focused on perfecting something in order to execute the routine to the best of their abilities on competition day.
The training got even more intense during the school holidays, when training began at 9 a.m. and continued for a full 12 hours.
After calling it a night for a quick respite, they would have to repeat the routine all over again the next day. This went on for a month.
To say it was tough would not do justice to how the cheerleaders felt. Pushed to the point of almost giving up, they stayed together only because of the constant words of encouragement exchanged that drew them closer together and instilled in them the esprit de corps.
Despite their fatigue, nobody would want to give up as they knew that they were in this together. To bring glory to the team and to the school.
All that training culminated in the competition day held on April 19 at Temasek Polytechnic.
Standing by the edge of the blue mat that serves as their performance space, five girls in their crisp, white uniform nervously stood hand-in-hand running their eyes over the anxious spectators.
Sitting in a neat row, the judges looked on sternly without even the slightest twitch of a smile.
“Let’s give a round of applause and welcome the first group, RP Rexaz All Girls Team White!” blared the announcer, giving them the cue to start.
Instantly, they had to shut out the indistinct chattering surrounding them to focus on the stunts they were to perform.
They only had one-and-a-half minute.
Just one-and-a-half minute to showcase the outcome of the many months of hard work and sacrifice.
In the last few seconds of their performance, the spectators fell silent as Sherilyn Choo, flyer of the group, pulled her scorpion off confidently at the end, before winking at the judges. (The scorpion position involves bending one leg upward from behind the body towards the back of the head just like a scorpion’s tail.)
The scene repeated with the other teams from the RP Rexaz Cheerleading team, who eventually brought home six medals that day.
Amid the congratulatory messages and jubilation, the cheerleaders knew that the celebration could not last forever.
After all, there is a new season ahead of them. Just as the long training sessions await them.
Their coach Karen Neo reminded them through a posting on her Facebook page: “Above all the medals and trophies, remember to stay hungry for the good things to come and always remain grounded in times of success! We will go far together as ONE TEAM with ONE SPIRIT in this new season to come.”
* Champions – All Girls Group Open Category
* 1st Runner-Up – All Girls Group Open Category
* Champions – Co-Ed Elite Group Open Category
* 1st Runner-Up – Co-Ed Elite Group Open Category
* Champions – Level 5 Elite Team Division
* Champions – Level 6 Premier Team Division