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 494 comments.

on Jan. 13 2012 at 11:13 am
no its not

Sarah_H said...
on Jan. 8 2012 at 1:38 pm
Sarah_H, Alexandria, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly."
C J Cherryh

Yay Connor! I hope you're enjoying it!!!

on Jan. 7 2012 at 9:19 pm
im a varsity cheerleader as a freshman to :D

on Jan. 7 2012 at 9:15 pm
hey im a male cheer leader at my high school my team is competative and also we cheer at games but either way its a sport u compete for a trophy so therefor its a sport. um i hate the dispute over this topic it take skill to be a cheer leader and alot of strength to stunt, i love this saying it goes like this "athletes lift weights Cheer leaders lift atheletes"..

1213 said...
on Jan. 4 2012 at 9:46 pm
I think that cheerleading is a sport but my parents think that it's just mean girls shakin they're butts, but instead of shakin their butt they are workin tier butts off to stay good cheerleaders I have been trying to be a cheerleader for 11 years but my parents no matter what I say to them they will not let me be a cheerleader.

Cheer!:) said...
on Jan. 4 2012 at 2:43 pm
Cheer is a sport. You can't just put on a skirt and say oh yeah im a cheer leader. No you have to train! Hard core training were you can get hurt. Im not saying cheer is a sport becuz you can get hurt. I am saying its a sport becuz its hard work! Now if you don't think it is then you shouldn't have even read the thing. Go try cheer and then tell me how it goes. And if you think its still not a sport then your at a lose. xP Cheer is peoples life. its my life and when people dis it like you did it hurts. I am at my gym everyday 24/7 becuz i love it! And its faster to get a scholarship for cheer than anyother sport. Bye.

Sarah_H said...
on Jan. 3 2012 at 5:46 pm
Sarah_H, Alexandria, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly."
C J Cherryh

This is a great piece! I am a dancer, but I was also a Varsity Cheerleader at my high school Freshman Year. Our team cheered at every football and basketball game, and attended three competitions. We practiced from June until March, as well. You did a great job explaining how demanding it is, and how alike it is to any other sport. I appreciate your support! Great writing too! :)

dirty harry said...
on Jan. 3 2012 at 1:23 pm
cheer leading is not a sport anybody can cheer a team on just cuz you put on a uniform and practice doesnt make you a sport

on Dec. 24 2011 at 2:19 pm
RejoiceTheySay... PLATINUM, Topeka, Kansas
29 articles 8 photos 20 comments
fuzzy peach just your name influenced by old gregg? :p

on Dec. 24 2011 at 2:18 pm
RejoiceTheySay... PLATINUM, Topeka, Kansas
29 articles 8 photos 20 comments
haha! thank you!!

on Dec. 24 2011 at 2:17 pm
RejoiceTheySay... PLATINUM, Topeka, Kansas
29 articles 8 photos 20 comments
why do you assume theres only cheerleading in America?

Santa said...
on Dec. 20 2011 at 9:58 am
i love to cheerlead. 

loudsilence said...
on Dec. 15 2011 at 7:22 pm
Cheerleading is definately a sport. Cheerleading truly requires a lot of hard work. I used to not believe that cheerleading was a sport because I thought that all that it required was waving pom-poms in the air. Once I saw competitive cheerleading, I realized that it required a lot more physical activity and practice than I realized.

on Dec. 15 2011 at 6:16 pm
JessJess96 BRONZE, Town Creek, Alabama
1 article 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Some people see the world in black and white, but never see the shades of gray. Those shades of gray are the ones that would give me hope, because they open my eyes to so much more." -Me

I'd have to agree with you. This is indeed a sport! A dangerous one at that, and I'm speaking from experience from a failed lift in 6th grade where I was the spotter.. :/

inspir3d GOLD said...
on Dec. 15 2011 at 3:01 pm
inspir3d GOLD, Norcross, Georgia
11 articles 2 photos 73 comments

Favorite Quote:
We're all just looking for attention, to be discovered overnight. We're all frustrated by the popular ones that claim the limelight before they fall to pieces. So many of us are stuck under the radar--what makes me different? You decide!


It's sad how politically correct everything is these days. i agree with you that competition cheerleading is a sport,  but if you have to put the word COMPETITION in front of it...well...

Competition laundry folding, anyone?


Josiejoee said...
on Dec. 11 2011 at 6:02 pm
I'm a cheerleader at my school on the competitive squad it's my first year and it's actually really hard instead of lifting normal 50 pound weights you life 100 pound living people...

emilyawards said...
on Dec. 8 2011 at 8:43 pm

People SUCK at this arguement!

Get to the point. What makes a sport? A competition between two or more teams, a set of rules, and athletic activity.

Therefore, there is NO possible way cheerleading can't be considered a sport. End of argument.

Also, to you amazingly conceited gymnasts who spend hours trying to belittle cheerleaders, SHUT UP. Just, shut up, really. Gymnastics and cheerleading are NOT the same thing, NO ONE ever brings this up except for those certain stuck up gymnasts who just can't get over it. So just stop it.






on Dec. 7 2011 at 9:21 pm
cheerlikenotomorrow, Belgrade, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have two many

I was a cheerleader for over 10 years, and say it is a sport, however I know that boys can cheer. when I was in jr. high we had some of the cheerleaders from the high school come down to help us, they work harder then any other cheerleader that I have seen. 

on Dec. 7 2011 at 9:03 pm
cheerlikenotomorrow, Belgrade, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have two many

Soccercutie54321, and FuzzyPeach,


I was a cheerleader for over 10 years and all of my coaches have HAD to be CPR and first aid certified. With that being said this did not stop any injures from happening, I myself can no longer cheer due to a chronic knee injury from cheerleading. Any coach that tells a cheerleader to simply get up and do it again should not be a coach and there should be at least one athletic trainer for any building that has a sport at it for this reason. But wait cheerlings not a sport right? Wrong there are big bad football players that are doing winter cheerleading (basketball games and competition) to keep them in shape until football start, they get more injures from cheerleading them football. 

FuzzyPeach said...
on Dec. 7 2011 at 2:52 pm
Cheerleading is mainly dangerous because coaches are not required to be CRP or aid certified as coaches for other sports are. Some cheer companies will hire on anyone who wants the job and fail to inform themselves about the safety aspect. then, once a cheerleader falls from trying a full layout the coach wont really have a clue of what to say and just tell them athlete to do it again. If cheerleading were to be made a sport then all coaches would be required to be certified which would in turn redue the number of injuries and increase the safty in each gym.