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Long Beach State Cheer Club gives opportunity to unexperienced

CSULB+Cheer+Club+Members%2C+above%2C+work+on+their+form+while+practicing+their+cheers+in+the+west+gym+Sept.+20.+
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Long Beach State Cheer Club gives opportunity to unexperienced

CSULB Cheer Club Members, above, work on their form while practicing their cheers in the west gym Sept. 20.

CSULB Cheer Club Members, above, work on their form while practicing their cheers in the west gym Sept. 20.

Lindsey Maeda

CSULB Cheer Club Members, above, work on their form while practicing their cheers in the west gym Sept. 20.

Lindsey Maeda

Lindsey Maeda

CSULB Cheer Club Members, above, work on their form while practicing their cheers in the west gym Sept. 20.

Elizabeth Campos, Staff Writer

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Pom poms and cheers are more than just high school memories. Game nights and full stadiums are still a part of the college experience and Long Beach State cheer squads are here to brighten up every game.

Long Beach State sports teams receive support from two different cheer squads, Spirit Squad and Club Cheer.

Club Cheer, established in 2011, has cheered for LBSU teams that tend not to get as much mainstream attention, such as hockey, lacrosse, rugby and volleyball. Spirit Squad sticks with teams like basketball and perform more consistently for a single sport.

In addition, Club Cheer works independently alongside their advisor, Rita Hayes — who also serves as the director of the club sports and recreation department on campus.

Another main characteristic of Club Cheer is that they do not require participants to have prior experience in order to join.

“You learn as you go,” Calimbas said.

Connie Marie Calimbas, consumer affairs major graduate and secretary of Club Cheer, has been part of the club for one year and has continued to help even after she graduated.

“It’s very exciting,” Calimbas said about their first practice of the semester. “I’m very interested to see who’s going to show up and who’s going to stay.”

During Week of Welcome, Club Cheer signed up 140 interested people for more information regarding the club, while other prospective recruits inquired about meeting times through the club’s social media.

Club Cheer has fees that need to be covered by both new and returning members. For new members, a required $200 fee includes the uniform – which consists of a shell, skirt, bow and pom poms. For returning members, a $35 fee is required that goes toward banquets.

Being part of the 20 girls that the club had last semester, senior psychology major Karla Velarde returned because of the relationship she built with her team.

“It feels like family,” she said, “and it’s hard to detach from your family.”

Calimbas and Velarde’s favorite memories include cheering for the hockey team.

“We’re really close to them and we have a bond,” Velarde said about the team. “They’re like our brothers and we’re the little sisters.”

Club Cheer is more than practices and games, as the girls also participate in  fundraising and community events. The members will participate in the seventeenth annual Team Spirit Long Beach Breast and Ovarian Cancer walk in Belmont Shore on Sept. 24.

The Team Spirit Long Beach Breast and Ovarian Cancer raises funds to benefit breast and ovarian cancer support programs at the Memorial Care Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial.

Regene Rolland, president of Club Cheer, recognizes that a lot of work and commitment is needed to be part of the team, but enjoys her responsibility to the team and the relationships that are built throughout the season. “I just expect us to have fun,” Rolland said. “The other team is more for competing so it’s really cool to see people that have no experience have fun.

Club Cheer will be cheering for Long Beach State Hockey Oct. 6 at The Rinks Lakewood Ice.

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