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One Game at a Time
That old college cheer

By Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:36:00 06/29/2009

Filed Under: Basketball

WITH THE start of the NCAA last Saturday, the collegiate athletic season is upon us and with other leagues set to open as well.

There will be the endless analyses about chances and contenders and which schools have recruited the best new talent.

Players graduate or end their stints with schools and player movement from one school is limited by residency. Restrictions to playing years add spice to the pre-tournament speculation.

The constant in this state of flux is school spirit, manifested largely by the organized cheering.

Having done a bit of cheerleading in my youth, it?s a thrill to see and hear the cheers and yells of my school and era still being very much around, together with those of other schools as well. Here are a couple of favorites through the years.

In the NCAA, San Beda?s ?Go San Beda Fight!? is a solid battle cry perfect for any game situation. The Indian dance and yell at halftime is a classic that has been performed by many through the years.

?Arriba Letran!? has arguably no peer in saying everything about the school?s spirit in one strong phrase.

JRU?s ?Bingo? is a crowd charmer whose choreography has hardly changed and has seen its alumni cheerleaders slide in seamlessly like when they performed in last year?s finals.

In the UAAP, UST?s ?Go USTE? has been a recent favorite because of the simplicity of its execution but also because of its ferocity when the Golden Gallery whoops it up. Even students of rival schools find it hard to resist and can cheer and dance it as well.

UP?s halftime performances are a must-see. Each one is a well-prepared production number with the discipline of their synchronized movements leaving audiences craving for more. The State U?s Filipino cheers are also a standout as rival schools try to make out the words.

La Salle?s ?Rektikano? builds slowly with chants and graceful gestures that allow floor movement and builds into a strong pulsating finish.

?One Big Fight!? of Ateneo?s Blue Babble Battalion is an all-purpose cheer for free throws, rallies and end game hoopla.

FEU?s ?Let?s Go Tamaraws, let?s go!? is a delightful chant dished out by spirited rooters while cheerleaders do choreography with flags and banners in the stands.

The question about cheering is if there is room at all for any new cheers. The old ones are nostalgic and unifying and can be easily passed on from one era to the next.

Composing new ones is challenging with only so many ?sis, boom, bas? and ?go fight? lines you can use. Teaching them and making them part of the game day repertoire is also problematic. New cheers have to be first accepted by the school community and may have to be taught in PE classes or done repeatedly in games.

The old cheers have stood the test of time and have become so ingrained that generations that come to the games today can do them like they did when they were young.

Whether there are old cheers or new ones, the essential thing is for communities to come together and be one in the stands for their teams. Ask any one who has played in a school league with hundreds of schoolmates and friends cheering. They do hear the yells and do respond to the pleas to go and fight or get that ball.

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