I'd like to take a step in my defense, and also in the defense of all cheerleaders everywhere. I'm proclaiming that cheerleading is indeed a sport.
It demands just as much capability, sweat and endurance as any other sport. We practice just as much as any other sport - perhaps even more. We sweat and feel as much pain in our muscles as any football, hockey, or basketball player. Hey - I'd like to see Dan Marino, Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretsky do a Russian jump or a split. It's hard and it hurts! My muscles burn after hours of practice, and I lift weights like any other athlete. I may even be able to bench more. My coach screams at me, trying to make me achieve the heights she knows I can reach, just like any other coach.
People may think cheerleaders are just pretty girls in short skirts with loud voices. Our voices are indeed loud and clear, so people can hear us glorify the teams that we cheer for, the hockey, basketball, football, and soccer teams. We brag about their victories, and share their sorrow in defeats.
But it's those ungrateful people who give us a bad name. They say that they could do fine without us, but if they are fine without us, why do they get upset if we don't attend the big game against our rival town? So, I guess we do make a difference. But to all the people who badmouth cheerleaders, we work just as hard as anyone, and deserve credit where credit is due. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.