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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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KelceThis 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...
Apr. 10 at 2:15 pm
Incredible work here. As a football fan, it makes me appreciate our cheerleaders even more.
 
chα chα said...
Apr. 10 at 11:39 am
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Dakota88zxcThis 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...
Apr. 9 at 1:06 am
Okay, first off, I love this and I only had to read the title. I'm not a cheerleader, but I'm a ballerina, and it makes me want to snap someone in half when they say either of them aren't physically (or mentally) demanding. I give you props.
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
Apr. 10 at 8:33 am
That is a very good argument for this issue. I think cheer leading and dance should be considered the same because they both use music and timing to create a good routine or performance.
 
Dakota88zxcThis 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. replied...
Apr. 13 at 8:05 pm
You are 100% right haha. But actually some dancers prefer to consider dance an art rather than a sport.
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
today at 8:48 am
But cheer leading and dance are art forms because a lot of timing is involved in each movement. Also when cheer leaders do a routine to music and make a cheer with physical percussion (hand clapping) that right there is an element that right there is the artistic side of cheer leading.It's the same thing color-guards do in the marching band, and why in ballet hand gestures are used to communicate the characters actions from a dying swan, a captured fire bird, and even a tribal society like in Th... (more »)
 
izzyzThis 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...
Mar. 23 at 3:25 am
I fully agree with your opinion
 
Janaep34 said...
Mar. 8 at 12:10 pm
Actually two minutes and thirty seconds get your facts straight, boo
 
shelisse said...
Mar. 4 at 12:39 pm
when was this article published
 
Heyyyy1234 replied...
Mar. 8 at 6:50 am
I know im writing a paper thats due tomorrow and i need the date
 
Ausin Z. said...
Feb. 26 at 3:55 pm
I'm in middle school and I play in a band and we play at our football games and we have cheerleaders on the sidelines cheering and people sat its easy but to me it looks really hard.
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
Mar. 4 at 9:27 am
I'am glad you have such compassion for cheerleaders. It reminds me about how hard color guards work, and yet directors and other ignorant people call them, "the shinny thing". It is very offensive and perpetuates the same stereotypes that cheerleaders are put under. By the way have you seen the show Blast?
 
Riaaxo said...
Feb. 12 at 9:17 am
I believe that school cheerleading is not really a competition sport, unless you compete against other school cheerleading teams. Competiton Cheer is called All - Star Cheerleading because there are levels of diffuculty unlike school cheerleader , there are levels 1- 5 in All- Star Cheerleading, the higher level team, the higher the diffuculty. All - Star Cheerleading is done at seperate gyms in cities and towns, not at schools. It is more rigorous than school cheerleading, I am a school cheerle... (more »)
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
Feb. 18 at 9:25 am
I really agree with you, it's the same situation with marching bands. Too much competition is hurting the creativity, choreography, and individuality of many bands and makes them single-minded and too focused on winning. Any form of art should be appreciated by the public not showed off to a bunch of judges and directors that are part of the single-minded persona that arts should be turned into sports. It cannot happen and it should not be accepted as a norm.
 
taylor mitchell said...
Feb. 3 at 9:30 pm
I believe that cheer is a sport but sideline cheer is to entertain, however the definition of sport is a specific diversion, usually involving a physical exercise and having a set form and body of rules. In sideline cheer you still have physical exercise, you have to practice, and you perform during halftime also in school (which is usually sideline cheer) the cheerleaders still compete so wouldn't sideline cheer still be a sport...
 
Kyleigh2001 said...
Feb. 1 at 10:11 pm
its actually 2 minutes and thirty seconds not 3 minutes 15 seconds for competitive cheer :) . but yes i am a comptetitive cheerleader and its ridiculous the amount of respect we lack. IT IS A SPORT, AND ANYONE WHO SAYS IT ISNT IS AN IGNORANT NARCASSIT. ;) thanks -Kyleigh, A competitive cheerleader ;P
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
Feb. 5 at 7:11 am
I disagree, but just because I disagree does not mean I'am a narcissist. I feel the same way about marching bands, that they are more of an artistic endeavor than a sport. If these forms of art become a sport then there is no choreography,creativity,and no individuality in the art form. Cheer leading is very much like the role color-guards play in marching bands or ballerinas in a ballet. Dance is a constantly changing art form but it is not a sport
 
Nikki2002 said...
Jan. 26 at 2:39 pm
I agree cheerleading is a sport and it is unfair that some people don't view it that way.It takes effort and determination to be a cheerleader and i think cheerleaders work as hard as any other players in any other sport.
 
MarykThis 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. replied...
Jan. 31 at 9:06 am
If cheer leading becomes a sport what about ballroom dancing and ballet should they become sports?
 
themacmonster said...
Jan. 16 at 9:04 pm
For school cheerleading, I really believe it depends on the coach that makes it a sport. I previously had a coach who wouldn't let us do ANY cool stunts and we weren't allowed to condition! WHAT? But now, I have a coach (who owns a crossfit gym) and makes us work REALLY hard! Competitive cheerleading: definitely a sport! But for school, it really depends on the coach. A lot of times, it's more than just waving your arms up and down and clapping like so many think!
 
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