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Give Cheer a Chance

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Do you play any sports? I get asked this almost every day. Apparently, I'm very athletic looking. What do they expect me to say? I wonder. Wrestling? Doubt it. Volleyball? Maybe... except I'm just the teensiest bit terrified of balls. Golf? Ha. Too slow.

        When I finally answer, the asker often looks a little uncomfortable. "Is that even a sport?" they ask.

        "I think so." is my usual, meek answer. Its what I say when I'm stopping myself from launching into a tirade that will forever mark me as "crazy screamer girl."

        But come on, what do you mean "is cheerleading a sport?"

        Okay, so maybe now you're thinking that I'm crazy. Its not a sport! Its bunch of ditzy s***ty girls shaking pom-pons in tiny skirts. Luckily, only a few people truly beleive that stereotype, but thats the image that inadvertently pops into peoples heads when they think cheerleader. 

         Alright, then think of your favorite sport. Soccer, lacrosse, football, basketball, whatever... and answer these questions with it in mind.
        If you miss the catch (or kick/hit/whatever else) what do you drop? We drop a person.

        Do you trust your teammates? We have to, we work together to hold up other teammates. Its the only sport I know of where your teammates throw you ten feet in the air.

        What do your warm ups consist of? Stretching? Running laps? Me too- and I know how hot and sore it feels! I also spend several minutes in full splits, and do cartwheels, roundoffs and (try to land- my elbows give a lot of the time during) back handsprings.

        We do cardio, dance, weights, push-ups and sit-ups. We also lift each other and our own bodies- some of the hardest weights to hold. Not only is it the ultimate workout, but its fun, team-based, teaches us to be positive and instills a great workout along with a lot of stength and flexibility. And its not as safe as it seems- an average of 65.2 percent of catastrophic (their word not mine) high school sports injuries are caused by cheerleading!

        Finally, I'm sure Katie Couric, Meryl Streep, Frankin D. Roosevelt, Steve Martin, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz and Madonna among others would agree that not only is cheerleading a sport, its a life lesson. Look at them, they are all commonly known people who did something great who were also cheerleaders. Of course, many people do just fine without a background in Cheerleading, I just believe that it's an amazing, strength- and integrity- building sport and I hope more people can look past the stereotypes and give cheer a chance. 



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