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Cheerleading is a Sport This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The New York Times states that cheerleading is the fastest growing girls’ sport, yet more than half of Americans do not believe it is a sport. In addition, they fail to distinguish between sideline cheerleaders and competitive ones. Sideline cheerleaders’ main goal is to entertain the crowd and lead them with team cheers, which should not be considered a sport. On the other hand, competitive cheerleading is a sport.

A sport, according to the Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors, is a “physical activity [competition] against/with an opponent, governed by rules and conditions under which a winner is declared, and primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants.” Because cheerleading follows these guidelines, it is a sport.

Competitive cheerleading includes lots of physical activity. Like gymnasts, cheerleaders must learn to tumble. They perform standing back flips, round flip flops, and full layout twists. Cheerleaders also perform lifts and tosses. This is where the “fliers” are thrown in the air, held by “bases” in different positions that require strength and cooperation with other teammates.

Just as basketball and football have guidelines for competitive play, so does competitive cheerleading. The whole routine has to be completed in less than three minutes and 15 seconds and the cheerleaders are required to stay within a certain area.

Competitive cheerleaders’ goal is to be the best. Just like gymnasts, they are awarded points for difficulty, technique, creativity and sharpness. The more difficult a mount or a stunt, the sharper and more in-sync the motions, the better the score. Cheerleading is a team sport so without cooperation and synchronization, first place is out of reach.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, cheerleading is the number-one cause of serious sports injuries to women. Emergency room visits for cheerleading are five times the number than for any other sport, partially because they do not wear protective gear. While many athletes are equipped with hip pads, knee pads, shin guards or helmets, smiling cheerleaders are tossed into the air and spiral down into the arms of trusted teammates. The fliers must remain tight at all times so that their bases can catch them safely. Also, because cheerleading is not yet recognized as a sport by many schools, neither proper matting nor high enough ceilings are provided to ensure safety. Instead, the girls use whatever space is available. More recognition of competitive cheerleading as a sport would decrease the number of injuries.

So why do many Americans not think cheerleading is a sport? It cannot be because cheerleaders do not use balls or manipulate objects (if you do not count megaphones, pompoms and signs as objects). Wrestling, swimming, diving, track, cross-country, gymnastics, ice-skating and boxing are recognized sports that do not use balls. Some people argue that cheerleaders are just “flirts in skirts” with their only job to entertain the crowd, but cheerleaders today compete against other squads and work just as hard as other athletes.

Competitive cheerleading is a sport. It is a physical activity that is governed by rules under which a winner can be declared and its primary purpose is to compare the skills of participants. Hopefully, cheerleading will become as well-known a sport as football and basketball, and even appear in the Olympics since cheerleaders are just as athletic and physically fit as those involved in the more accepted sports.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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ilovecheer3646 said...
today at 11:18 am
@sambest12498 i would like to see you preform your top dance and cheer rouyine,that has to have jumps, tumbling, and stunting,all under 2 min and thirty secs.no pressure.
 
cheerleader1999 said...
Apr. 12 at 11:38 am
cheerleadin should be a sport football players just through a ball we work must harder they should cheer us on while we cheer copetive
 
ladybug1217 said...
Mar. 10 at 8:51 am
In my opinion, cheerleading is a sport. All cheerleaders have to keep good grades, just like any other sport player. You have to keep your grades great. Cheerleading is a sport and being in a marching band(booorrriiinngg) is not a sport. Being in a marching band has nothing to do with being an athlete. @sambest12498
 
murphykk replied...
Apr. 21 at 11:10 am
Marching band is a sport when you practice at 6 am in the morning till you sweating it IS A SPORT
 
sambest12498 said...
Feb. 19 at 9:02 am
In my honest opinion, cheer leading is not a sport. Im a member of the marching band and if they cant consider that a sport, then cheer leading isnt a sport. we do as much if not more than any other sport, we go to competitons, band camp, way more than just going to a football game for half time entertainment. so if cheer leading is a so called "sport" then marching band should be one too.
 
cheerleading101 replied...
Mar. 4 at 2:31 pm
in marching band, you dont break legs, nor do you throw people in the air and are expected to catch them. you may practice for hours and put alot of time and effort into it, but you do not go onto a mat for 2.5 minutes and work your butt off. In cheerleading, you get one chance to show people what youre really like. you do not get do over, like in football when you have different plays and more than one opportunity to score points. so please, tell me cheerleading isnt a sport.
 
kotabear23 replied...
Mar. 11 at 3:00 pm
Band isn't a sport its a hobby. I play the guitar does that mean i'm a athlete because of that? NO?? It means i have a cool hobby. Dont try to argue something thats pointless. TO argue that cheer is a sport is reasonable i play football and baseball competitive cheer in my opinion is a sport but not when they just cheer on the team.
 
cheerandtrack4lyfe replied...
Mar. 15 at 10:15 pm
it is not considered a sport due to the fact that if u can play an instrument you can do it cheer requires you to be fit know exactly what you are doing and stunt safely. we also have to make it look easy and not show how much pain we are sometimes in many of my team mates including me have competed with something broken or broke something while competing
 
girl3 replied...
Mar. 16 at 11:27 am
There is way more than "going to a football game for half time". You think there's just that to the sport, but some teams do competitions. They practice more than 6 hours per week, and trust me, it's REALLY intense. They have to go to regionals, nationals and even worlds. It's even one of the most dangerous sport in the world and I understand why! I think you're misundertsanding the cheerleaders at your school and the ones that are doing it competitively.
 
HES123 replied...
Apr. 25 at 6:03 pm
Cheerleading in fact IS a sport. We throw girls in the air!! We tumble our hearts out! Only cheerleaders can do that. We work SUPER hard!
 
ilovecheer3646 replied...
today at 11:19 am
right,we throw 100 lb girls in the air,football players throw a 2 lb ball,the difference?we ALWAYS catch ours.
 
theone said...
Feb. 19 at 8:08 am
I agree with you, competitive cheer leading should be considered a sport. You do everything that is required to call something a sport.
 
kenziekat31@live.com said...
Feb. 18 at 11:42 pm
I agree. I find school cheerleading a competitive cheerleading to be very different. I used to e in competitive cheerleading and it takes a lot of work. Makes people actually think if cheerleading is a sport. Great poem.
 
JWALK said...
Feb. 18 at 1:47 pm
I completely agree. When I try to explain to my school's cheerleaders they do not agree. Cheering on the side lines of other athletic events takes zero athleticism. Competitive cheerleading seriously blows my mind. The athleticism involved is intensive and it takes hard work to actually be able to perform the stunts they've learned.
 
Mia7789 said...
Feb. 18 at 10:56 am
Awesome! Very informative, and I definitely agree wit the subject matter.
 
cheerleading is dumb said...
Feb. 7 at 6:14 pm
cheerleading should not be a sport all they do is cheer and are annoying s
 
Justdont replied...
Mar. 29 at 3:11 pm
Great! Thanks for your opinion!
 
ilovecheer3646 replied...
today at 11:23 am
oh really,well i would like to see you do half of the level one things.im a level six and i manage to keep straght A s all while doing a double twist into a full,so do us all a favor and stfu
 
juliacoccaroThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 5 at 9:49 pm
I agree with this article wholeheartedly. Competitive cheerleading takes a TON of work and time. I've been to several competitive cheerleading competitions, including Worlds in Disneyworld. (I'm not a cheerleader myself, I just like to watch.) But on the sidelines, I can't see how that's a sport at all. An activity, sure, but waving pom-poms and being able to yell loud doesn't quite qualify as athletic ability.
 
CianaBThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 15 at 3:51 pm
I believe cheerleading is a sport. In my opinion, an sport is anything that requires athletic ability. The definition of a sport is "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment." Based on the definition, dance, marching band, and cheerleading are all sports. And no matter how much you argue, cheerleading and dance(ballet in particular) both require more athletic ability then golf.
 
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