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

     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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TribeCheer55 said...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:28 am
Cheerleading is a sport. Sideline may not be but Competitve is. Have any of you that say cheer isn't a sport even been to a competiive cheer competition before or performed? No, im sure you haven't. Im pretty positive it the most dangerous sport out there. Even my SPORTS doctor said specifically, "cheerleading is the most hardest sport for your body". Im sure half of you just know about Sideline cheer and not Competitive, well competitive is SO different from Sideline, TRUST ME. Im a comp... (more »)
TheJudge replied...
Oct. 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm
actually i have been to a cheering compitition, as my wife is a coach and no, its not a sport. it is also no where near the most dangerous activity or the hardest on the body. i dont have enough fingers to list all the actual sports that are more dangerous or physically harder. and no, opinions shouldnt be kept quiet. whether nice or not. this country was built on voicing your opinion.
TribeCheer55 replied...
Oct. 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Okay, well your dumb. So thats your problem. Im pretty sure its the most hardest sport on your body and the most difficult. Go to a SPORTS doctor and ask them, see what they say, cause im pretty sure they would tell you that its the the most hardest physical sport out there.
TribeCheer55 replied...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Well, for one he has no clue what he is talking about. When we you people understand cheer IS a sport, and its not just a sport, its a passion, for BOYS AND GIRLS. And to "TheJudge" whe i say "cheer competition" i mean COMPETITIVE, and no, i dont mean the local ones, i means WORLDS, at Orlando Flordia, its only the big dogs, Level 5 and level 6. Go there and tell me cheer isn't a sport. Cause im sure it would change your mind. Its held in Walt Disney Worlds in the WIDE WORLDS OF SPORTS. ... (more »)

CheerbbyK replied...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm
I have cheered for 7 years in competitive cheerleading (MHSAA) My Jr year of high school (last year) we made it to states. I know its hard. It takes an athleate to do the things we do. I don't care if people don't concider it a sport. Its when people tell me we arnt athleates that bugs me.
Cheerbbyk replied...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm
btw states is as far as MHSAA cheer goes. And i do understand how it feels when you make it as far as you possiblly can at something you love to do. and im going to college next year and planning to compeate at disney. Cant wait. and i misscounted. this is my 6th year cheering.
smile&cheer replied...
Dec. 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm
Whoever, Thejudge is, obviosly doesn't know what they're taling about. In all due respect, have you ever tried to do half of the things we learn? Cheerleaders put everything they have into this sport, just for they're team. No, my team may not be all that great, but because this is the sport we all love, we work together to get better. We learn newtumbling, stunting and routines, in a week worths of practice. So, if you think it's not a sport go ahead & try to do what we do. Guarentted, you ... (more »)
Justin Bieber said...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Cheerleading is no sport


Justin Sucks replied...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm
And Justin Bieber's singing sucks so.....everythings good in this neiborhood
basketball98 replied...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm
i totally agree with "JB"!!!!!! is it not a sport!!!! and i dont care what other people say it wont affect my opinion!!!!
cheer101 replied...
Nov. 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm
u were born in 98...therefore ur still a baby in school...meaning your opinion means nothing =] Go 2 an actuall college game with real cheerleaders preforming things youve never seen before in your life. Then we'll have a convo.
basketball98 replied...
Nov. 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm
i have been to a college game... they didn't impress me!!!! so what if i am 13 i am allowed to express my opinion.       what!!!
GO TEAM JACOB !!! replied...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 7:51 am
ashleymarie replied...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm
basketball98, grow up. 
LittleLover17 said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm
wel i think cheerleading is a sport but very dangerous
wcatcher16 said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm
I am a former cheerleader. I've cheered since i was 5yrs old. i'm now 21 and stopped cheering when I graduated from high school. Cheerleading IS a sport and i'm glad someone agrees! We work very hard to do what we do. Getting ready for competitions is NOT easy at all. It's very tough especually when someone doesnt show up to practice. If anyone thinks throwing people in the air and having them come back down and land on you and not drop them is easy... They're HIGHLY wrong!! I've been a base, ba... (more »)
basketball98 said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 9:09 am
it is not a sport get over ur self........ 
Cammyd93 replied...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 12:24 am
if its not a sport why did u read the article and also why would u have argued with it honestly until you actually try it and see what we go through you will never understand it!!!!!!! 
basketball98 replied...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 9:02 am
honestly i didnt read the artical.  and i was a cheerleader, it wasnt at all hard. it was in my option stupid.  so i am not anymore. all our chearleader do is make signs and they're even loud at the games!!
TriibeCheer55 replied...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:08 am
Okay, your obviously the stupid one. Im sure you WERENT a cheerleader, & i'm talking about competitive, not stupid sidline cheer, have you ever been to a competitive compettion, or even have performed? I'm sure you havent, it most deffinatley IS a sport, would you like it if we said your sport was no kind of sport? Im sure you wouldnt.
TriibeCheer55 replied...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:08 am
Okay, your obviously the stupid one. Im sure you WERENT a cheerleader, & i'm talking about competitive, not stupid sidline cheer, have you ever been to a competitive compettion, or even have performed? I'm sure you havent, it most deffinatley IS a sport, would you like it if we said your sport was no kind of sport? Im sure you wouldnt.
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