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 Dec. 1 2013 at 12:34 pm

on Dec. 1 2013 at 12:31 pm
thank you so much im assumung that you are a cheerleader and other people dont understand how amazing cheerleading is and let me just say to whoever is reading this "there are 2 things in life that you should be afraid of spiders and a cheerleader who has just be told that cheerleading is not a sport" 

Person said...
on Nov. 10 2013 at 4:24 pm
I am highly impressed by your arguement! I never considered cheerleading as a sport and I especially admire how you distinguish the entertainers from the competitors. At my school, we have a "spirit squad" and the dance team: both perform at games but the dance team actually competes in regional competitions. The Texas Education Agency does not consider dancing a physical activity (similar to your dilemna with cheerleading) which has thwarted my high school academic plans (I had to take aerobics instead). Your arguement is highly persuasive. The argument was well defined and organized. You backed it with the authority of certain institutions and statistics. Well done!

Sportgirl123 said...
on Oct. 27 2013 at 9:59 pm
Horse back ridding is not a sport! You don't have to be an athlete to ride the horse better then the guy next to you! It's a disgrace that horse ridding is in the Olympics and softball is not. They even took out wrestling and left that in over wrestling. On the note of cheerleader... Lets all admit to the average person cheerleaders are somewhat annoying but those who do compete at a higher level, that can be called a sport. High school cheer is not a sport. Point blank. Just because you can't be 500 pounds and still do high school cheer doesn't make it a sport. Bye

lmwright1 said...
on Oct. 27 2013 at 9:18 pm
You obviously don't know what competitive cheerleading is, since we don't "just dance around with pom poms and sing silly chants". We throw girls in the air while they twist and flip. We pull amazing tumbling passes that you probably could never even dream of doing. And we don't sing silly chants. We cheer.

on Oct. 26 2013 at 6:27 pm
MarieEsther PLATINUM, Miami, Florida
33 articles 0 photos 11 comments
While I agree that competive cheerleading is a sport, I think sideline cheerleading should be considered a sport too.Not all sports have to be competitive; we know what the definition of what a sport is is up for interperetation, and I always took it that a sport is anything which requires energy and puts emphasis on physical activity. Although it's obviously more lenient than competetive cheerleading, sideline cheerleading still puts a ton of emphasis on physical activity and there's pressure there to do your best.  Overall, this was a piece with a very honest and mature tone on sports. 

Lizzy Gort said...
on Oct. 14 2013 at 9:55 am
Lizzy Gort, Howard City, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I personallyn believe  cheerleading is a sport. I have been doing it for 14 seasons now. I work very hard to do things. I have to be able to run a mile, bench 100 pounds and squat 150. It may not sound like much but it's still hard. I do not believe sideline is a sport, but I still work hard in it to get ready for competitve. And competitive is a sport in my eyes.! I dont have on other sports or clubs so I dont know why people have to hate on cheer. 

on Sep. 17 2013 at 1:39 pm
lilnikohl SILVER, Buckeye, Arizona
5 articles 0 photos 20 comments
Cheerleading is a sport if you actually try! Not like in the movies!

on Sep. 6 2013 at 12:30 pm
GleekGamer PLATINUM, Somerset, New Jersey
28 articles 1 photo 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for."

Exactly how I feel about color guard! XD Also, I'm pretty sure your essay was used as an example in my English class, since my teacher comes to TeenInk for her examples, so congrats. :P

Bubbles said...
on Jul. 23 2013 at 8:32 am
sideline cheerleading is onl sexist dependin on the coaches.. you cant blame the girls if the coach sas do it we have to do o we can quit!!

on Jul. 12 2013 at 6:39 pm
DifferentTeen PLATINUM, Seaford, Delaware
32 articles 2 photos 329 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There’s no such thing as true love, just spurts of insanity—falling over and over again, thinking that won’t happen to me"

Hahaha, these comments are what I agree with. I do not think cheerleading is a sport. At least, definately not the stuff at football games.

on Jul. 3 2013 at 9:55 pm
Anynomus_Angel BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
This is a quote I made myself, " The four beliefs Love, Family, Unity, and Peace."

Im sorry @devil but @steak is right marching band isnt a sport it has tons of physical activity but that doesnt make it a sport.

on Jul. 3 2013 at 9:52 pm
Anynomus_Angel BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
This is a quote I made myself, " The four beliefs Love, Family, Unity, and Peace."

I dont really believe cheerleading is a sport because all your doing is dancing with pompoms and singing silly chants, so i disagree with your statement about competive cheerleading being a sport.

on Jun. 11 2013 at 7:37 pm
Alleenstaande BRONZE, Newfoundland, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is too short to be serious all the time." -My sister, Annie Krause

I completely agree with you, I could further that to say that even playing video games is a sport, card games, and even hackie sack. If you'd like to get technical on the opposing side, how is Nascar a sport? I agree that it is, you risk dying in a burning mass of fiberglass and metal. There is rules, competition, and all that fun stuff. What about fencing? Curling? Ping-pong? Thank you for giving me the mental motivation to add onto what you were saying. I hope it helped you explain! :)

on Jun. 11 2013 at 7:33 pm
Alleenstaande BRONZE, Newfoundland, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is too short to be serious all the time." -My sister, Annie Krause

Insulting someone becuase what they think is a sport or not isn't really the most mature thing to do. If someone wants to believe that cheerleading isn't a sport then so be it. I personally believe that sideline cheerleading is just a form of gymnastics that is not competitive at all. Teenage girls beg to differ seeing that they want to feel apart of a sport. I am not trying to cause any dispute here, I am just stating my opinions. I do however believe that any kind of competitive activity with rules IS a sport. Societal terms and definitions do back that up, in my beliefs. I do not completely believe that is the most dangerous sport, since saying that above is only backed up by sports that women are involved in. Which sadly isn't that many. Women have just as many rights to be in sports as men. The ratio to men, and their injuries are immense. Just imagine it and understand what I am trying to say, please. I don't want you to take any side but your own. Thank you.

meme said...
on May. 10 2013 at 12:43 pm

on May. 2 2013 at 1:14 pm
studcupcake BRONZE, Arlington, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?
--Jean Cocturan

I wouldn't call it the most dangerous sport in the world. I call it a sport but it is no more dangerous than gymnastics, football, or wrestling.

cute me! said...
on Apr. 11 2013 at 5:19 pm
cheerling is the most funnest sport I ever tried if you try it , it will change your life  

VE321 said...
on Apr. 1 2013 at 10:53 pm
wow that was absolutely beautiful. very true im many ways!

riley21 said...
on Mar. 21 2013 at 6:42 pm
I've been "sideline cheerleading" since i was in third grade, and i completely agree :)