True grit

Watch the in­spir­ing video that will change ev­ery­thing you thought you knew about cheer­lead­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R. AGE - By LIM MAY LEE allther­age@thes­

“YOU know what they call us out there, right? A bunch of blondes and soft­ies!” roars a cheer­lead­ing cap­tain at her de­mo­ti­vated team. “Peo­ple don’t be­lieve in you and what you do.”

While it’s all just part of the script for the CHEER 2015 promo video, the sen­ti­ments ring true for many in the lo­cal cheer­lead­ing scene.

“We could re­ally re­late with the video,” said Cheer As­pi­ra­tions di­rec­tor Lim Chee Wei, who also coaches CA Awe­some Le­gends, the team that acted and per­formed the stunts in the video, which you can watch on rage. com. my/ CHEER.

“Cheer­lead­ers have to work very hard to make their per­for­mances look flaw­less. It looks easy but it isn’t at all,” he said.

The video was so in­spir­ing, Lim shared it with all the sec­ondary school teams he’s coach­ing for CHEER 2015.

“It de­scribes per­fectly how cheer­lead­ing re­ally is – and how the public sees us.”

Many don’t see past the bright smiles and pom­poms to the sheer grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion, as well as phys­i­cal strength, that cheer­lead­ers have.

In­juries, for in­stance, are reg­u­lar oc­cur­rences but are gen­er­ally shrugged off by the cheer­lead­ers in their pur­suit of per­fec­tion.

“Shoot­ing the CHEER videos, I learnt that in­juries are very com­mon, and usu­ally quite bad,” said Elroi Yee, who di­rected and pro­duced the video for R. AGE.

“I’d see a cheer­leader get hurt and just shrug it off dur­ing shoot­ing, but then later I’ll hear from his or her team­mates just how bad it was,” he added.

Yee de­cided to em­pha­sise the sports qual­ity of cheer­lead­ing, giv­ing the video a dose of sports- movie treat­ment ( think Rocky Bal­boa’s rous­ing speech to his son in Rocky III).

“I didn’t know any­thing about cheer­lead­ing, so I met with Coach Chee Wei and his team,” he said. “From that meet­ing, I could tell how se­ri­ous they were about the sport, and that helped in­flu­ence the theme of the video.”

Yee also di­rected our se­ries on Malaysia’s sec­ondary school cheer­lead­ing scene, in the dra­matic weeks lead­ing up to the CHEER 2015 Fi­nals, Malaysia’s big­gest cheer­lead­ing event.

The videos tell the sto­ries of the cheer­lead­ers’ sac­ri­fice for the sport, and how it inspires them to be more dis­ci­plined and de­ter­mined.

Ac­tress Ju­lia Farhana Marin, who plays the team cap­tain in the promo video, was also sur­prised at how dif­fi­cult it can be to be a cheer­leader.

“I thought, ‘ How hard can it be to jump around?’ But in re­al­ity, I couldn’t even get my­self up to shoul­der height!” she said.

But CA Awe­some Le­gends co- cap­tain Ian Chung com­mended Ju­lia on her pro­fes­sion­al­ism. “She’s never done cheer­lead­ing in her life, but it didn’t show.”

Chung said the team was ab­so­lutely thrilled to be in­volved in the promo video. “Be­ing filmed un­der all that glo­ri­ous light, with a pro­fes­sional setup, was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Watch the video

rage. com. my/ CHEER

To watch our video se­ries on the

lo­cal cheer­lead­ing scene

1 The CHeeR 2015 promo video, brought to you by R. AGE.

2 shoot­ing is hard work, but the cheer­lead­ers never com­plained, tum­bling and stunt­ing take af­ter take.

4 ac­tress Ju­lia Farhana Marin plays the team cap­tain in the video, and she was im­pressed by the cheer­lead­ers’ ath­leti­cisim.

3 One of the stunts fea­tured in the video.

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