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.

Metallxrose said...
on Dec. 3 2010 at 3:50 pm
I do not believe cheerleading is a sport. Any girl can easily 'cheer' for her teammates, like at a volleyball game, just by sitting on the sidelines. Why don't you just do gymnastics then? Cheering can be done by anyone at any age. You don't do anything diffiuclt that with a little practice, any one else can do easily ona  trampoline and such.

on Dec. 3 2010 at 11:27 am
PirateQueen791, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't about finding yourself... Life is about creating yourself.

Excuse me, but if cheerleading is just like gymnastics, then I don't understand why cheerleaders don't just DO gymnastics. Gymnastics is a definite sport, and according to this article it's safer anyway, not to mention that its background doesn't concern the concept that girls are meant to cheer for guys. I could NEVER be a cheerleader (not that I remotely have the personality anyway) for that reason. 

on Dec. 3 2010 at 11:19 am
Okay so first of all if you're going to be rude and talk crap about cheerleading at least spell the word right because all you're doing is making yourself look stupid. Second of all I'm a cheerleader and have been for the past 6 years I know firsthand that cheer is a lot harder than most sports. I’d like to see all the people saying cheer is stupid to go try and lift a 100+ lb. girl in the air and attempt to do the tumbling skills we do. At my high school we have football players that are on the team and they tell everyone they talk to that cheer is WAY harder than football. Yeah cheering at a game isn't a sport but competitive cheer is. We follow all of the guidelines that other sports do so we should get some recognition as a spot. I'm done wasting my time trying to explain to every idiot that cheer is a sport.  

on Dec. 3 2010 at 6:37 am
tomgirl.93 GOLD, Sudbury, Massachusetts
10 articles 2 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn who you are and stand by it."

It is a sport physicality but not mentally. You have the work and its hard yes but, the whole reason why is BS and a little rude.  

CheerGirl said...
on Dec. 1 2010 at 11:43 am

Cheerleading has to be a sport because it takes just as much dedication as most other sports. Also as a squad you have to work as a team and remember the players as called in a SPORT...


123huff said...
on Nov. 29 2010 at 9:55 pm
Then whats the offense of defense for track or cross country..many sports if you think about it dont have an offense or defense. boxing and or wrestling really dont have offense and defense either

stach171 said...
on Nov. 29 2010 at 3:33 pm
cheerleading is not a sport. A sport is supost to have a offense and a defense ... whats the offense for cheerleading and whats the defense?

FCAgems said...
on Nov. 29 2010 at 8:36 am
Cheerleading is definitely 100 percent a sport. People might not think it is because they watch like highschool cheerleaders or midget league cheerleaders, but competitive, yeah that's a sport. It's on espn, everyone sweats their butts off at practice trying to work as hard as they can, and throwing a 100 lb girl is harder than everyone thinks...every guy and girl needs to get it through their head that cheerleading is definitely a's much more than jumping around like everyone thinks...

CarleenCat said...
on Nov. 27 2010 at 9:25 pm
Gurl u r not cute or kewl i have been a cheerleader for 7-12 grade now and i know more stuff then u im cheering for the dallas cowboys and its awesome.

on Nov. 23 2010 at 1:50 pm
ok i use to be a gymnast and now i am cheerleader and it is as hard or harder. the people that say it is not a sport are really stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is a sport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ok ok!!!!!!! get it through your head

on Nov. 23 2010 at 1:42 pm
you spelled cheerleading wrong,...

LiLK33kz said...
on Nov. 23 2010 at 1:33 pm
for anyones info that is not a cheerleader, you really cannot speak. i was a cheerleader for 7yrs co-captin for 2yrs and my final year i was captin. even in 8th grade i was a cheerleader and some girls didnt even know what it was until i stepped up to say what it was. now i do danceline and as the term "sport" is defined cheerleading is all that. i don't what people don't see in cheerleading its a difference between competition and sidelining. but both are still competitive. so if you don't know anything about cheerleading don't say anything until you've stepped in a cheerleaders shoes like me.

meynard7 said...
on Nov. 14 2010 at 11:29 am
I do cheerleading and we are a competive cheer squad.We work just as hard as any other sport.All the things we are required to do takes a lot of strengh and physical ability.Theres no reason why cheering is not considered a sport.

iCheer said...
on Nov. 11 2010 at 12:55 pm
Obviously you don't know anything about sports or cheerleading then:)

cheer4lifee said...
on Nov. 11 2010 at 11:32 am
ok i am a cheerleader and it is a sport

heatlebron6 said...
on Nov. 11 2010 at 8:43 am
heatlebron6, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
All Day

I think cheerleading should never be a sport and I think that sheerleading is never going to be a sport.

iFly said...
on Nov. 10 2010 at 11:53 am
For those of you who don't think Competitive Cheerleading is a sport, you obviously don't know the definition of a sport. A sport involves physical activity, has a set of rules and regulations that must be followed, and compete. Competitive Cheerleading obviously meets all the "guidelines" to be considered a sport. Sideline Cheer i agree isn't technically a sport because they're not competing for a title. The ability that these cheerleaders that compete can be more athletic that any of the players with any other sport.

on Nov. 4 2010 at 8:08 pm
Sideline cheerleading is not a sport. Competitive cheerleading IS. Competition cheer doesn't involve "waving" or "weird chants". It involves stuff like round off back handspring back handspring tuck stepout round off layout tuck step out round off double full. If you don't know what that is, look them up. I'm pretty sure that is structured and organized if there are official names for the moves. Suck that stupid senator from Connecticut that said cheer wasn't a sport!!!!

cheerbaby13' said...
on Nov. 1 2010 at 12:43 pm
i have been apart of many different sports and cheer is the only one that requires more atheticism and you can always improve and the little things matter cheerleaders are ahhhmazing

cheerislife said...
on Oct. 12 2010 at 9:50 am
excuse me people who apparently dont cheer!!! I play soccer and run track and do cheerleading. I sweat just as much cheering as i do in track..i get more bruises and bumps from cheer then i do soccer....if its soo easy and not a sport..stop talking and you get out there with us!!! -thanks(: ( all cheerleaders are amazing!!