DOES cheerdance deserve to be a regular sport in the UAAP?
National University coach Ghicka Bernabe thinks so.
“It really promotes camaraderie among UAAP and even non-UAAP schools,” said Bernabe, who steered the NU Cheer Squadron to a maiden championship in the keenly awaited, annual cheerdance competition on Sunday.
The cheerdance competition, which began in 1994, is currently not part of the regular UAAP calendar of sports as it is considered a mere side event of the league, although it counts in the race for the general championship.
The contest, however, has enjoyed massive popularity over the years compared to other regular league sports not just among UAAP member schools but from non-members as well.
Proof of its growing popularity was showcased in this year’s edition which drew a record attendance of 20,830 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena – the highest audience attendance registered in the two-year-old stadium.
Spin.ph pressed a few UAAP officials as to why cheerdance is not part of the league’s regular events, and most of them had varied opinions, ranging from potential conflicts in the eligibility requirements, the event being just a one-day affair, to debates as to whether cheerdance should be considered a sport.
As of now, a move to make cheerdance a regular event has not been considered, and in turn, has not been brought up in recent board meetings, according to one UAAP official who requested not to be named.
A major aspect, however, for a sport to be considered as a regular event includes the number of schools which are participating.
Bernabe said there’s no question about the participation of schools in the UAAP since even non-member schools are also looking forward to watching the event.
“Kitang kita naman na involved lahat ng students sa cheerdance, lalaki or babae. Na-e-enjoy nila ang once a year na event na ito,” said the former Far Eastern University cheerdancer.
Bernabe also feels cheerdance is a ‘sport’ since training for the event also entails a lot of physical activities.
"Sobrang hirap ng training na pinagdadaanan nila katulad ng ibang sports," said Bernabe. "Tsaka hours din ang ginugugol sa training."