Cheerleading: A Sport This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 13, 2010
The definition of “sport” is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. When you think of sports you most likely think of football, basketball, cross-country, etc., but there’s another activity that most of our society is leaving out. What about cheerleading? Most people laugh at the idea of cheerleading being considered a sport. My question is why? What do other sports have that cheerleading doesn’t?
In the past, this could’ve been answered in many ways. Cheerleading doesn’t take any skill. Cheerleading is just peppy girls with ponytails jumping on the sidelines. Cheerleading isn’t a sport because there is not a competition where a winner is decided. Years ago, this was true. Cheerleaders simply cheered for other sports. They didn’t have competitions of their own and their skills where typically somewhat simple, but things have changed. Over the past fifteen years cheerleading has evolved into an extreme sport that requires the strength of football, the grace of dance, and the agility of gymnastics. Modern cheerleaders are in teams where they choreograph complex cheerleading routines and then perform them at various national and even worldwide competitions. The routines are strictly judged by a professional panel of judges and a winner is determined. The stereotypical image of girls shaking pom poms and cheering for the football team is how most people classify a cheerleader. What many people don’t understand is that cheerleading has dramatically changed.
Today, cheerleading is a more physically intense sport than most people realize. To be a cheerleader you have to have the strength to not only throw yourself into the air for your tumbling pass, but to also throw other people in the air (that could easily be bigger than you) and hold them there while they have the flexibility to twist their body in pretzel positions on one foot. Then, you both have the job of getting that girl safely to the floor and then sprinting to your next formation. Cheerleading routines are two and a half minutes of stunting, tumbling, jumping, cheering, and dancing. Many teams are in the gym four to six days a week stretching, practicing, and conditioning to get their routine absolutely perfect. Cheerleaders make their skills look easy, when the reality is that it takes months, even years, to teach your body and muscles how to perform the exhilarating flips and twists that are thrown in gyms today.
Because it’s so physically intense, cheerleading, just as sports like basketball and football, has strict rules and regulations. For one, routines must fall under a certain time frame. Also, cheerleaders have specific rules that have to do with stunts and tumbling, depending on their level. If you do a skill that’s too advanced for your level, you’ll earn a deduction that could cost you the competition.
Cheerleading is definitely a competitive sport. The main purpose of cheerleading is competition. Some of the most well known competitions are UCA Nationals, NCA Nationals, and of course, Worlds. The reason cheerleaders spend several hours many days a week in the gym practicing their routine is so that when they go to competitions, they’re perfect. This is because cheerleaders want to win. The feeling you get when your team is announced first place in incomparable. You know that you spent hours and hours perfecting your skills and when it came time to step onto that floor, you gave it your all. The way you feel when your team is handed that huge trophy, that incredible sense of pride and accomplishment, cannot be replaced. That feeling is what cheerleaders live for.
Cheerleading takes strength, skill, technique, dedication, and drive. There are strict rules and guidelines that cheerleaders have to follow and it’s a highly competitive activity where a winner is determined. Cheerleading is not just jumping around and cheering for the football team. It’s not for the title. Cheerleading is that rush of adrenaline at a competition right when the music starts. It’s that feeling you get when your team has won. When you get that giant trophy, hold it, and know that it’s all yours, that your team earned it, that all your hard work paid off. Isn’t that what sports are all about, the pride of accomplishment? Isn’t that the reason you practice and want to compete? That’s exactly how cheerleaders feel. Cheerleading IS a sport and it’s about time people start recognizing it.

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kittttykat said...
May 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm
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