From frenzied screaming at annual school track meets to rooting for your favourite EPL team, there is a hidden cheerleader in everyone one of us bursting to get out.
Though the modern alpha male might scoff at the idea of cheerleading, dubbing it a ‘girly’ sport, history has shown otherwise.
Origins of cheerleading
Though cheerleading today is typically associated with females, men were ironically the primary cheerleaders during sport’s infancy.
The first organised cheer ever recorded took place at a Princeton football game in the early 1880s. Inspired by the events at that iconic football game, Princeton graduate Thomas Peebles brought the spirit of cheering with him to the University of Minnesota.
Despite his initial efforts, cheerleading only took off in 1898 when fellow student Johnny Campbell directed the very first organised cheer.
Credited as the modern father of cheerleading, Campbell went on to create the first cheerleading squad with five other male friends. His initiative boosted the sport’s popularity and led to the inception of the first cheerleading fraternity in 1903.
In the early 1920s, women became more involved in cheerleading as the sport evolved into a display of showmanship, including gymnastics, tumbles and throws which were immediate crowd pleasers. However, it was the debut of the popular pom poms in the 1930s that added to the fanfare of the sport, making it the universal symbol of cheerleading.
I want to be a cheerleader
Cheerleading has gained popularity in Singapore in the past decade, with schools and associations organising and participating in cheerleading competitions.
Most polytechnics and local universities have their own cheer squad and practice drills meticulously. A typical routine consists of rolls, tumbles and throws, with individual teams co-coordinating their moves to energetic and up-beat tunes.
Local community clubs have their own cheer teams as well and welcome members of the public who wish have a passion for cheerleading and desire to pick up the sport.
“Cheerleading is a fun sport but can be physically challenging so you need to be pretty fit,” says Shaun, a member of the Braddell Heights Legacy All-Stars.
Training sessions for basic members are usually twice a week but can go up to three or four times a week for those practicing for competitions. Beginners are welcome to join but those with prior gymnastic or cheerleading practice will be in a better position to pick up the sport.
If you are a total beginner with nothing to offer except a passion for the sport, do not be disheartened. Cheer clubs welcome all and coaches on hand will assess your physical fitness and background to determine how best you can participate in the sport.
Where do I sign up?
If you’ve always dreamed of being a cheerleader doing tumbles, rolls and forming pyramids then head down to these community clubs for a first-hand experience at the sport.
Denvers Cheerleading Team (Potong Pasir Community Club)
6 Potong Pasir Avenue 2, Tel: 6280-1182/6287-9465
Wildcards Cheerleading Team (Ulu Pandan Community Club)
170 Ghim Moh Road #01-01,
Legacy All-Stars (Braddell Heights Community Club)
50 Serangoon Avenue 2 #01-01,