Cheerleading is a Sport | Teen Ink

Cheerleading is a Sport MAG

By Anonymous

     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.



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This article has 493 comments.


on Apr. 22 2012 at 5:06 pm
AndriaGromley SILVER, Hillsdale, Pennsylvania
8 articles 2 photos 113 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

Exactly! 'I can rhyme and dance at the same time!'

on Apr. 22 2012 at 4:56 pm
AndriaGromley SILVER, Hillsdale, Pennsylvania
8 articles 2 photos 113 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

Cheerleaders make the crowd hate games. With all the stupid jumping around and chanting, it's sickening.

on Apr. 22 2012 at 4:55 pm
AndriaGromley SILVER, Hillsdale, Pennsylvania
8 articles 2 photos 113 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

Cheerleading is not a sport. It's based on opinions, not scores and points. Judges tell wether it's good or not. Yeah, you have to be fit and flexible, but still, you don't have contact with other teams.

on Apr. 16 2012 at 8:58 pm
I love you. You rock.

Blondegirl:) said...
on Apr. 14 2012 at 11:17 am
I have grown up being a cheerleader, but i did not compete in a cheerleading competition until my sophomore year (this year).  Let me tell you, we worked hard like practicing everyday of the week & added a competition every weekend for a little over a month. It was crazy, the first time you stand behind those curtains & get a huge knot in your stomach... & the girls i cheered with that have been doing it since jr high still got that feeling. You have 3 minutes to go out there & show that group of judges what our team has got! Other sports if you mess up, you can get back out there & fix that....Not with competitive cheerleading. You have to be on your A-game & work as a team. Working with a bunch of girls year round is hard, you get frustrated, annoyed, and lets face it girls can be mean, but the teamwork pays off. Cheerleading is a year round sport, & i love it. Practices somedays would kick all of our butts. Try readjusting your routine the night before a competition. Try throwing new stunts & sticking them. Its hard.

on Mar. 31 2012 at 10:58 pm
SpringAhead GOLD, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't call me crazy, it drives me nuts!"








~Anonymous

Dude I can totally relate. So many people say horseback riding isn't a sport, just like cheerleading (competitive), and it annoys me so much. Just because I can't throw, or kick, or hit a ball doesn't make me less of an athlete, really people. I can also totally relate to the whole injury thing, except the only difference is that I can wear a helmet, and you guys can't. 

on Mar. 31 2012 at 2:43 pm
Writer_Jordan GOLD, Ellicott City, Maryland
15 articles 0 photos 182 comments

Favorite Quote:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Oh, please. I play volleyball, and sideline cheerleading is not a sport. Competitive, however, is a different story. Competitive is more similar to gymnastics--definently a sport.

on Mar. 26 2012 at 2:38 pm
Cheer is a sport, whether it is SIDELINE or COMPETITIVE. Cheering on the sidelines for like a school is not about the crowd. Its about the PLAYERS! we hype them up and encourage them! and some sideline cheerers also go to like 1-3 competitions throughout the season, so we are doing a sport! Its VERY hard and sideline ceerers do halftime too! So we DO flips and stunts, we just dont REQUIRE you to do arials and backhandsprings! anyone can CHEER!!

on Mar. 24 2012 at 6:13 pm
PoetryAngel14 PLATINUM, Ithaca, New York
26 articles 0 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Dare to be imperfect and one day there will tug at your sleeve a soulmate." ~Robert Brault
"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~Albert Einstein

I'm not saying cheerleading isn't a sport, but to all of the people who are saying "try it and you'll see how hard it is" or whatever- don't bring difficulty into this. at all. because life is difficult. it doesn't make it a sport.

torithrock said...
on Mar. 23 2012 at 10:47 am
You have to finish the routine in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, not 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

on Mar. 23 2012 at 12:55 am
estherhoran__ GOLD, Bell Gardens, California
10 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I heard someone say if it's on ESPN it's a sport and cheerleading competitions are on ESPN so it's a sport. My best friend is a cheerleader i've seen how hard she works and i've seen the cheerleaders at my school practicing and it seems like it's a pretty tough sport

girl said...
on Mar. 15 2012 at 5:33 pm

why doesnt track and field have cheerleadres

 


ImDaddy(; said...
on Mar. 14 2012 at 10:22 am
CHEERLEADING IS A SPORT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

on Mar. 11 2012 at 8:19 pm
Cheer IS a sport, have you ever tried a double full from extended lib, i didn't think so. Try the sport before you judge!

on Mar. 11 2012 at 8:17 pm
Omg you are epic, male cheerleaders ROCK!!!!

on Mar. 9 2012 at 7:18 pm
maizyiscrazy GOLD, Washington, District Of Columbia
10 articles 53 photos 261 comments

Favorite Quote:
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe in miracles. ~Audrey Hepburn

Swimming is a sport. Dancing is a sport. Running is a sport. If you're doing a marathon, you're not trying to beat anyone but yourself. Just because people wear short skirts while cheering doesn't make it a stereotypical girl past time. It is a work out, involving sweat, training and pain, just like any other sport.

on Mar. 9 2012 at 7:41 am
Hetalia-otaku SILVER, Sweden, Maine
5 articles 0 photos 47 comments
RIGHT!  You tell them!

on Mar. 9 2012 at 7:40 am
Hetalia-otaku SILVER, Sweden, Maine
5 articles 0 photos 47 comments
Oops my comment doubled

on Mar. 9 2012 at 7:40 am
Hetalia-otaku SILVER, Sweden, Maine
5 articles 0 photos 47 comments
No offense, but you're wrong.  The author of this piece states all the points that show that it absolutely is a sport.  I was cheer captain last year, so I know what I'm talking about.  For future reference, IT IS A SPORT.

on Mar. 9 2012 at 7:40 am
Hetalia-otaku SILVER, Sweden, Maine
5 articles 0 photos 47 comments
No offense, but you're wrong.  The author of this piece states all the points that show that it absolutely is a sport.  I was cheer captain last year, so I know what I'm talking about.  For future reference, IT IS A SPORT.