It has been amazing how people in South Africa have taken to the concept of the IPL. The crowds have swelled with every game. South Africa also seems to have a sizeable Indian population, who are present in huge numbers at every match. We often interact with them as they come asking for pictures or autographs, or even things like the banger- clapper sticks. Many of the girls dance with us on the sidelines during matches, and we usually have a ball.
During one of our matches in Jo'burg, it was freezing, and as the dew came down heavily we had to really struggle to keep warm. Finally we decided on wrapping the game flags around us and it kinda helped. A lot of Indian fans had come forward to talk to us and we were generally chit-chatting, when there was this group of young Indian girls who came up and pleaded with us, asking us to show them some moves. They just would not take a no for an answer. They were super-precious, and sitting right in front of our podium they cheered with us the whole time and wrote us these cute little notes telling us how much they loved us and that they wanted to be cheerleaders too when they "grow up". How adorable! We signed a bunch of autographs throughout the game and took tons of pictures with them.
Finally we had to give in to their request. Jenna Lee and Andrea took them to a grassy knoll on the side of the podiums and helped the little girls with some lifts and tricks, and they were actually pretty good at picking up. Soon we had these small girls doing cartwheels by the side, pleased as punch.
Felt good. Cheerleading is such an American phenomenon, I had never thought someone in a foreign country would come up to me and say that she would want to be a cheerleader professionally. Or that little girls would start emulating what we do in the stadium. It was touching. The hours of practice we put in in making those drills perfect were worth it at that moment.
Such is the glorious uncertainty of life. Never in my wildest imagination could i have ever thought that I would give lessons in lifts and tricks to girls of Indian origin in a cricket stadium in South Africa. Beat that!
Rebecca Lee is part of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Mischief Gals cheerleader squad