|PHOTOGRAPHED BY KO EUN-BIY
THE BALL hitting the court floor, the loud ringing of the buzz, the jolly cheering from the audience, and the exciting trills and comments from unseen voices. These are all way too familiar sounds from the Yon-ko games. However, have you ever wondered who makes the witty comments that pierce through the loud music and cheering? With their sense of humor and voice, the a-ga-ri members hype the atmosphere of games to another level. Read on to learn more about the a-ga-ri members and their untold stories, revealed by Nam Yong-hyun (Senior, Dept. of Mech. Engin.), former cheerleading leader of 2014 and current a-ga-ri and staff.
The Yonsei Annals: What is the meaning and origin of a-ga-ri?
Nam: In order to have the best cheering experience with our audience, we need both auditory and visual components. Since we create joy with our voices, we are named a-ga-ri, which means mouth.
Something I would like to clarify here is that we do not recruit a separate group for the a-ga-ri team. Instead, after the members finish their official duty as cheerleaders, they can choose to participate as a-ga-ri.
Annals: Is there a script for each event or are the lines improvised?
Nam: We do not have a separate script. We improvise lines according to the event's atmosphere—we just go with the flow.
Annals: As you mentioned, all of the events such as the orientation, Akaraka, and the Yon-ko games, are slightly different. How do you lead and change the atmosphere for each event?
Nam: Each event has a different goal and characteristic, so we try to say things most befitting to each. For example, during the orientation, we aim to teach freshmen how to cheer as Yonseians. So our lines are more didactic than witty. We either repeat the next line of the songs or instruct the next dance moves. On the other hand, in the cheering event done with Korea University, we need to be a more humorous and tease our eternal rival. A-ga-ri members try their best to make the fun more fun, and make the excitement more exciting.
Also, for Akaraka and the Yon-ko games, communicating with the central stage is very important. When there is a confusion and things are getting awkward on stage, we scream “Yonsei!” in order to avoid any uncomfortable and unwanted situations.
Annals: Did a-ga-ri members help avoid any major mistakes?
Nam: One of the most memorable episodes of this year was the first cheerleading event with Korea University. A staff from Korea University who was holding a big microphone made a mistake with the sound equipment, and everyone was perplexed. During this awkward situation, I shouted “Do not fool around with sound!” and swiftly changed it into a fun interaction. It was a close call, even thinking about it now.
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Behind the super exciting and highly-spirited cheerleading scene of Yonsei University students, a-ga-ri as well as the cheerleading squad itself, strive to make it special for all of us. After each major event, the a-ga-ri members are left with sore throats, but this is all worth the pain because the students’ throats are left equally sore—which is a sign that they enjoyed their time with the cheerleading team.