A Mass of Blonde

The 74th Season of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition had just ended–in a sea of blonde, might I add.

Eight of the country’s top colleges and universities gathered their best movers to compete for a title, a cash prize, and an entire year’s worth of bragging rights.

There’s the National University Pep Squad, the University of Sto. Tomas Salinggawi, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Bubble Battalion, the De La Salle Animo Squad, the University of the East Pep Squad, the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad, the Adamson Pep Squad, and the University of the Philippines Pep Squad.

This year’s season had garnered a very large audience somewhat caused by last season’s intrigues and a definite crackle of electrified tension. And the continuous cheering campaigns of all the participating schools whether in their respective campuses or all over social networking sites simply added to the competitive air.

I guess there’s also as much determination from a couple of the teams because winning this season would add to the festivities in their respective schools. De La Salle is celebrating its 100th year and the University of Sto. Tomas is commemorating its 400th.

Hence, the expected scene of balloons and banners and astoundingly loud cheers was what greeted the whole of this year’s Cheerdance Competition. The court side reporters introduced their own schools to the energetic responses of their crowds. And then the competition began.

Now, I’m not good at speaking about dances because technically, I was simply after seeing a good show from the contestants. And boy was it a great spectacle. Every team gave their best tosses and erected their close-to-perfect pyramids. They had nothing but something for their college mates to be proud of.

I particularly loved three teams: NU, DLSU, and of course our very own UP. The National U’s play with the red cloths very much like the known bullfighting festival was interesting–it was sort of a diversion from the usual love-your-own themes that the other schools centered on. DLSU also offered a refreshing take with their green and white ensemble, like nature and purity fused together to create something lovely for the viewers’ eyes.

UP came up with something relatively new: the UP Pep Swag. It was a fresh take on the competition, fierce and yet glamorous. A crowd of black-clad audience even added flare to the blonde-haired dancers.

Unfortunately for Ateneo, missed stunts and nervous tosses made the whole performance shaky. UST seemed like it was just collating all of their older stunts, not revealing much of new, leveled-up feats.

Before the end of the competition though, a surprise addition was announced in the form of the Group Stunt event. Five out of the eight schools competed with three emerging as the “inaugural” winners: NU, FEU, and UP.

UP's winning Group Stunt team (photo from fullcourtfresh.com)

Then, the moment of truth everybody waited for.

In the end, only three prevailed–in two colors: green and blonde.

The Far Eastern University went home as the 2nd runner-up and the De La Salle Animo Squad bagged the 1st runner-up title (after a very long win drought). This was when the tension built up so fast that just one word seemed like a bomb for everyone’s ears: “still”

Because with this word came the realization that the UP Pep Squad yet again claimed the title “Champion”.

UP Pep Squad, Champion (photo from fullcourtfresh.com)

Pride and joy and all other emotions filled the Araneta Coliseum as a mass of blonde converged and ran to the center of all the chaos.

It was at this point that I was so sure everybody else felt the same way I was feeling. There was me feeling so proud to the point of bragging. And there was me with eyes nearing tears. No, I didn’t know anyone in there personally. But one thing you’ve got to know about us–we are one big happy family in UP.

And this one big family, you made proud again, UP Pep. Thank you.