Postmortem to UP Pep Squad

Dear UP Pep Squad,

First of all, I love you. I love you whether you lose or win.

I loved you even more when you went out there, pushed the boundaries of cheerdancing and, at the same time, pushing for equality and denouncing discrimination. No other team manages to pull that off while performing an awesome routine. Girls tossing guys in the air? One stunt transitioning to a stable pyramid in just 3 seconds? Girls lifting guys for eye-popping pyramids? Ang baliw niyo, ang halimaw niyo, and I love you for it.

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THIS. (Photo via fullcourtfresh.com)

I thought you had it in the bag. Everyone thought you had it in the bag. Even UST’s oh-so-pretty routine only had me rattled for a bit, because I was confident you’d win.

Until NU performed.

See, that’s the elephant in the room here. We could talk about heart. We could talk about equality. We could cite frameworks and theories we learn from UP about your 6-minute performance. But NU pushed the boundaries even further by executing more advanced stunts (yes, even for my untrained eye). NU flawlessly pulled off a jaw-dropping routine in clockwork precision that the UP crowd in Araneta sat in stunned silence, and we’re left without the trophy for another year.

I’ve seen some tweets blasting judges for favoring NU’s ‘racist’ performance inspired by native Americans over UP’s routine that highlights equality. But you can’t fault judges for doing their job, which is to rate routines based on tumblings, stunts, pyramids, tosses and dance. In case we’ve forgotten, wala ang theme sa criteria, kesyo tungkol pa yan kay Madonna o sa territorial dispute between Philippines and China.

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Tignan mo naman yung lamang nila, kahit may deductions pa! (Photo via Jane Bracher/Rappler)

NU has been doing this for two years now, outscoring us when it comes to the technical aspects of cheerdance. And they’ll do it again and again and again, probably until they manage to get everyone in Araneta cheer for them when Boom or whoever-will-his-cohost be announces NU Pep Squad as champions. Just like how nearly everyone in Araneta joined the Unibersidad ng Pilipinas cheer last Sunday when UP was declared 1st runner-up.

It’s pointless to debate about funding. NU has it, and that’s the new normal. We don’t have it, and we’ve dealt with that reality for years. What would make this year, next year or the next decade different from the years we’ve lived with the lack of funds? Buti nga may sponsors na kayo ngayon, kasama pa yung logo nila sa uniform niyo sa Araneta. Besides, we’ve always managed to pull through without money, with honor & excellence as our battlecry. Siyempre mas OK pa rin kung tataasan ang state subsidy, pero ibang debate na yan.

You guys were quoted as saying na bonus na lang ang manalo. C’mon. This is a competition. We don’t compete for fun and games. We compete to win, and even if winning is unattainable, we still strive for the best and we always give our best. Giting at tapang nga ang itinatanghal natin, ‘di ba. Sama mo na rin ang honor and excellence.

Besides, the far-from-pleased looks on your faces when you were named 1st runner-up may have inadvertently expressed what (I assume) you felt about this competition: you wanted to win, nothing less.

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OK lang yan guys. Tao tayo, pwede tayong masaktan, at pwede ring hindi natin itago yun. (Screenshots via iWantv.com.ph)

UP Pep Squad, I love you, but it’s time to reexamine saan tayo nagkulang and see how we could move forward. We’ve been known to push the limit when it comes to cheerleading, pero kasi sa bawat tatlong hakbang nating pasulong, nakakaisang kilometro na ang ibang koponan. Hindi na lang ito basta sino ang mayroong magandang theme eh. Labanan na ito ng galing. 

Pasensya na kung masyadong demanding. Pero ganoon talaga eh. From those to whom much is given, much is expected. Oo, totoo, mahal ko kayo, manalo man o matalo. Pero inumpisahan kasi natin ang pag-angat ng antas ng kompetisyon bawat taon, kaya marapat lang naman sigurong tayo ang magtuloy noon at sa bandang huli ay maging kampeon.

May isang taon pa tayo para gawin yun, at alam kong kaya niyo yan. Kayo pa, eh Pep Squad nga kayo ng bayan.

Love,
Isang fan at kaeskwela.

UP Pep Squad UAAPCDC uaapcdc2014

Kung makaakap lang ako, wagas eh! Haha. But really, this was one opportunity I couldn’t miss.
I had no shame. The first thing I did after screaming “OH MY GOD!” when he arrived at the newsroom was to shake his hand and bow to him for his performance in Spain. The gesture made him laugh. I was shaking while looking for my phone’s camera app, and he calmed me down by massaging my shoulders.
After what seemed like forever, I found my camera app, but had to wait for others who had their photo-ops. I finally went up to him for a picture, and he happily obliged when I hugged him for this shot. “Thank you po! Good luck sa Incheon!” “Uy, salamat!”
No really, Jimmy Alapag, salamat. Isa kang alamat, kapitan.

Kung makaakap lang ako, wagas eh! Haha. But really, this was one opportunity I couldn’t miss.

I had no shame. The first thing I did after screaming “OH MY GOD!” when he arrived at the newsroom was to shake his hand and bow to him for his performance in Spain. The gesture made him laugh. I was shaking while looking for my phone’s camera app, and he calmed me down by massaging my shoulders.

After what seemed like forever, I found my camera app, but had to wait for others who had their photo-ops. I finally went up to him for a picture, and he happily obliged when I hugged him for this shot.

“Thank you po! Good luck sa Incheon!”
“Uy, salamat!”

No really, Jimmy Alapag, salamat. Isa kang alamat, kapitan.

#TalesOfTheNewsroom: Gilas vs Croatia edition

Me: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Her: Wait, who should we root for here?
Me: Blue! The guys in blue!
Her: Oh ok. Wait, that guy (Blatche) is black, how could he be ours?
Me: Naturalized.
Her: Oh. *looks confused*
Me: Blue! Blue! That’s all that matters!

—————

Her: I wanted to check out why you guys are so fired up about this game.
Me: It’s our first appearance in the World Cup in nearly 40 years.
Her: 40? 4-0 not 1-4?
Me: Yeah, 38 years I think.
Her: Oh wow.

—————

Me: Yes!
Her: Wait did we score?
Me: Yeah we just did.
Her: It’s too fast, even the blue guys are all a blur!

—————

*Foul called during 3rd quarter then awkward silence between us*
Me: Don’t look at me, I know nothing about fouls.

—————

Me: Oh hey, 3rd quarter’s done! 57-49!
Her: Hey, that’s close. How many quarters do we have left?
Me: One more.
Her: And that’s how many minutes?
Me: Uhm… wait. Kuya! Ilan nga ulit sa isang quarter?
Kuya: 12 minutes sa isang quarter.
Us: Ooooooh.

—————

Me: Homaygad, 79-78!
Kuya: Kaya yan, foul lang katapan niyan!
(No foul called. Croatia win.)

talesofthenewsroom crazyconversations Go Gilas!