As I was going through the notifications in my Facebook account, one status message caught my eye:
“After nung araw na ‘yon, sobrang sarap bumangon sa kama. Isa lang nasabi ko, ‘Thank you so much’”. This was what Samsung Stunner Nesza Salvador posted the day after the UAAP Cheerdance Competition held last Saturday, September 17, 2011.
It seemed surreal that just last Saturday, the Smart-Araneta Coliseum was jam-packed with thousands upon thousands of students all cheering for their respective colleges and universities accompanied by around a hundred bass and snare drums that seemed to thunder over the whole stadium. Thousands of streamers were waved here and there, and banners bearing the name of the different schools were waved in support for each school’s cheering squad. But one school stood out above the rest and bagged all three awards in the competition, one squad remained to be the ultimate pride of its university—the UP Pep Squad. Amidst all the yell and noise upon the announcement of our feat, the loudest was still the pounding of our hearts.
A grand slam for the squad- triumphing in the Cheerdance Competition, the Group Stunts Competition and obtaining the Samsung Stunner Award- it truly was an epic day. As in all victories, this one comes with a celebration. A dinner was organized by Professor Ruben Defeo, Director of the Office of the Initiatives for Culture and the Arts (OICA), at the University Theater lobby. It was considered a tribute for all the hard work and job well done by the UP Pep dancers, drummers and coaches to attain the titles that we now held. The dinner was also set up to acknowledge the sponsors of the squad, the UP professors and the officials who have helped throughout the whole ordeal. Also present in the event was Chancellor Caesar Saloma who gave a short message of appreciation and support for the team.
Waking up the day after this momentous event was like waking up from a distant dream, only it wasn’t a dream. It was real—as real as the goose bumps that appeared on my arms when the UP crowd cheered their hearts out for the squad during the competition, as sincere as the smiles that formed on people’s faces when they watched the squad perform, and as genuine as the tears that flowed from our eyes knowing that we, as a team, were able to touch so many people with this routine- a routine which we, especially the competition lineup, have trained so hard for everyday and which was ultimately offered to the UP community.
Waking up that Sunday morning and viewing my Facebook account, I was delighted to find several overwhelming greetings from family and friends. And everywhere my teammates and I go, owing to our rather conspicuous blonde hair, people (most of whom we do not know) would give out their most earnest “Congratulations, UP Pep!”
And so last Tuesday, September 20, we had a parade around the UP Academic Oval to show our gratitude to the entire UP community and to all those who have supported us ever since the beginning, doing what we do best—cheering for and with UP.