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.

sara_xoxo said...
on Nov. 3 2014 at 10:52 am
Whoever thinks cheerleading isn't a sport can go sit on a cactus. Competive cheerleading is just as hard or even harder than any other sport. We don't "dance" in cause you haven't realized the stunts we do are not considered a dance. Cheerleaders get as hurt as any other althetic and we keep our crap going just as you guys. If you don't consider cheerleading a sport you can kindly go get a reality check.

ilovetoeat said...
on Sep. 25 2014 at 9:53 am
well cheerleading is a very active sport btw... and uh yeah ur probably just sitting around around eating my food!  

byefelicia said...
on Sep. 24 2014 at 1:18 pm
Sideline cheer is the one that cheers on football players and is basically just a season of conditioning that prepares you for the following sesason of cheer known as competitive. Both types of cheer have 3 hours practices everyday plus many camps that last 4 hours or more over the summer

CloutGirl said...
on Sep. 23 2014 at 3:19 pm
What's the difference between cheerleading and competitive cheerleading ? Most people think cheerleading is a sport because it you have to practice in order to get better.

byefelicia said...
on Sep. 16 2014 at 1:16 pm
Most of those who say cheer is not a sport are highly uneducated and unlike those who believe it is a sport, you dont have facts to back up your oppion. Going off of what you see in movies hardly compares to what goes on in reality. Unless you have been in the shoes of a competitive cheerleader or have actual facts to back you up, your oppinion is most likely invalid and should probly be kept to your self.

on Sep. 11 2014 at 1:25 pm
you tell em kayley

on Sep. 9 2014 at 3:56 pm
agreed this is a very contructive thing

on Jun. 23 2014 at 12:20 am

englotgg said...
on Jun. 9 2014 at 10:50 pm
Just watch smoed 2014 wordls on youtube. then you can come up and tell me tht im not an athlete. But please at least come up with an intelligent reasoning. Btw on of the girls on m cheer team skippe a year we aren't all dumb blondes.

on May. 28 2014 at 10:02 pm
emeraldcaroline BRONZE, Madison, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I agree about high school cheerleading, but competitive cheerleading is definitely a sport. 

on May. 21 2014 at 11:53 am
burnsboy12 BRONZE, Lebanon, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I personally think cheerleading is not a sport.  all you do is dance around in short shirts.  

on May. 20 2014 at 3:55 pm
mylifeasapincushion GOLD, Redlands, California
14 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Extremist have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book"
-Malala Yousafzai

That would imply anything that is judged is not a sport so... Gymnastics, surfing, any martial art, synchronized swimming, and technically wrestling?  

on May. 19 2014 at 5:29 pm
PianoKeys97 PLATINUM, Medford, New Jersey
22 articles 35 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." -Dita Von Teese

Great article! You have very strong details and examples that truly bring through your passionate belief. After reading this, I definitely agree that cheerleading is a sport. It's competitive, gives you exercise, and takes much skill and technique.

on May. 19 2014 at 11:56 am
i completely agree with you.  Cheerleading is not in any relm considered a sport.  all it is is cirls flying around in short skirts yelling "Go Go Hershey"  thats for you Maddy

L.A.L.Etc said...
on May. 4 2014 at 6:25 pm
L.A.L.Etc, Vail, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
I can't be impossible - I exist! I believe what you ment to say is 'I give up he's improbable!'"
By "Big Bang Theory"

Cheerleading isn't the most dangerous sport. Out of my own intrest I look it up and there are many differnt websites that have many different opinions on it from their statistics such as horseback-ridding, football, ect. 

smoedbecca said...
on Apr. 29 2014 at 5:31 pm
im sorry but your opinion is wrong:)

Phoenix said...
on Apr. 26 2014 at 9:45 pm
In all due respect, Otter, I beg to differ. I'm currently writing a paper on this topic, so while I don't claim to be an expert, I have done my research. A 'sport' is not defined on the basis of whether winners can be determined objectively. The definition provided by the Women's Sports Foundation, which is a generally accepted definition, and one of the most specific, classifies a sport as: * A physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of a mass.
* "Contesting" or competing against/with an opponent.
* Governed by the rules which explicitly define the time, space and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared.
* Acknowledged primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants. The final point notes that competition is not merely an objective determinism; it is a "comparison of the relative skills of the participants." Meaning there is technically no requisite for there to be a decided numerical score, like in football. And even in football, or any sport, there are inevitable contests where a player might be unfairly carded, or the goal was invalid, etc. That's inevitable. It is difficult to make any sport purely objective, although the sports you named are more objective. However, based on the definition provided the WSF, sports are not defined on whether they can be decided objectively. While many sports are assigned numerical scores (as is cheerleading, skating, gymnastics, dance, etc.), objectivism is something very difficult to obtain. You write eloquently and do make a good point, though I would urge you do conduct more detailed research on the topic before decided upon your definition of a sport. If you received this definition of a sport from a reputable source, I apologise in advance, and would love to see the source to add complexity to my argument. Thanks.

on Apr. 10 2014 at 11:05 am
I do think cheerleading is sport it gives perfect exercise to the body and is fun

jellybean said...
on Apr. 8 2014 at 2:32 pm
i believe that cheerleading is a sport since i was a cheerleader for 9 years (competitive and football/basketball).so i would like to know why you dont think its a sport

on Apr. 2 2014 at 12:09 pm
kayleyschuitema4, Grandville, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I completely agree that competitive cheer is a sport. This article clearly explains how hard and active this SPORT really is