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 490 comments.

on Oct. 15 2021 at 8:43 am
JackPrent BRONZE, Houghton, New York
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
It is a sport but also the worst and least entertaining

Skye485 BRONZE said...
on Apr. 14 2021 at 10:20 pm
Skye485 BRONZE, Chandler, Arizona
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”-Lao Tzu

I really do agree with this post. That being said, your claim that cheerleading is a sport because it met guidelines created by Cheerleading Advisors doesn't really work. Your piece would have been stronger if you had used a definition from a more general source and then shown how cheer supports that. Overall, thank you so much for bringing up this issue, especially the part about injuries.

JoeBiden said...
on Feb. 2 2021 at 1:55 pm
JoeBiden, Washington, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
My fellow Americans, here's the deal!

My fellow Americans, Cheerleading is in fact, a sport. Schools, colleges around the nation should recognize it as such. I have a plan, that will make Cheerleading recognized by all. It will be brought to the House of Representatives right after the COVID Crisis.

- President Biden

KJ03 said...
on Oct. 19 2020 at 8:42 am
KJ03, Ewing, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments
This essay might have just changed my opinion on whether cheerleading is a sport, at first I would've told you no it isn't but after reading this I can say I've gained a respect for competitive cheerleaders but not pom pom entertaining cheerleaders.

weeeberboi said...
on Feb. 10 2020 at 10:53 am
weeeberboi, Springboro, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Ricky Bobby - As the great Colonel Sanders once said "I'm too drunk to taste this chicken."
Max Getz - The laziest pickle is always the last one in the jar.

cheer leading is as much a sport as a diabetes competition

Madichloe15 said...
on Apr. 2 2019 at 12:04 pm
Madichloe15, Plano, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
i completely agree I am a cheerleader myself and so many people say " you loves sports so why are you participating in something that isn't a sport?" But it is and they just don't understand that

on Mar. 28 2019 at 12:19 pm
mikeshabrown17, Austell, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
i believe cheer leading is a sport,it is really active. people should not say it isn't because it is.

igeurytas said...
on Mar. 25 2019 at 12:58 pm
igeurytas, Plano, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
@i-dont-care cheerleading is more difficult? oh? have you played... football? basketball? swimming? water-polo? i disagree wholeheartedly

i-dont-care said...
on Mar. 22 2019 at 8:15 am
i-dont-care, Mt Sterling, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
@JackCuncannan cheerleading is a thousand times more difficult than any other sport and most certainly deserves the title of being a sport these girls do so much more than you so stop talk trash. one u actually get off your lazy butt and start moving then you can talk trash but that wont happen because you're to fat to get off the couch!!

on Apr. 27 2018 at 1:23 pm
JackCuncannan BRONZE, Wyoming, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I think you forgot a n't on is in your title

on Apr. 23 2018 at 1:35 pm
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

If you would've read the article carefully, you would've noted that in the first paragraph, the author states the difference between sideline cheerleaders and competitive ones.

on Apr. 23 2018 at 9:29 am
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

If gymnastics is a sport, then so is cheerleading. Both are activities that require physical and mental strength. Have any of you ever watched cheerleaders cheer? Their routines are like those of gymnasts; they have to stretch their legs and be very flexible while enduring physical exertion. Cheerleading is definitely a sport.

KokoLuver said...
on Apr. 9 2018 at 1:09 pm
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I do not believe regular primary and secondary school cheerleading is a sport due to the fact that they mainly stand and yell. When done outside of school when tumbling and gymnastics may be involved that is considered more athletic and seems more like a sport than standing there yelling

on Mar. 14 2018 at 1:29 pm
poetry1604 BRONZE, Stockton, Kansas
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
" I am still learning
how to go back and reread
my own chapters
without feeling like I
want to set all of my pages
on fire" - E.V. Rogina

I know right!

on Feb. 15 2018 at 2:45 am
BBerends SILVER, Tirana, Other
6 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No you've got, yes, you can get

Your essay is well organized but I think it misses good arguments. With your arguments of cheerleading being a sport, 2 people cutting their arms as many times as possible in one minute would also be a sport. It includes 'physical activity, against/with an opponent.' AND, it will definitely be the 'number-one cause of sports injuries for people.'

on Feb. 7 2018 at 11:48 am
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Good lord, a comment longer than the actual essay, and with great grammar. Great job, person on the internet.

on Feb. 7 2018 at 11:46 am
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Well, ave you ever tried grammar?

on Feb. 7 2018 at 11:42 am
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I cannot verify if you are gorgeous, but I can say that you are probably narcissistic.

alsou BRONZE said...
on Sep. 19 2017 at 7:28 pm
alsou BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
3 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
everything will work out in the end!!!! if it's not working out, it is Not the end

wow!!!!!! i love this so much!!!!! such an important issue to address!!!!!!

on Sep. 17 2017 at 8:15 pm
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
My senior year of high school I spent two hundred dollars on a cheerleading uniform and that was only the beginning of the expenses to come. The most common argument around cheerleading is rather or not it is a sport. The problem is that the definition of a sport is extremely vague and open to an infinite number of interpretations. Seeing as nobody can agree on the definition of a sport the argument of rather or not it is one is an impossible to win. It’s about time that we stopped focusing on a futile argument and bring our attention to what really matters. Should a student be required to pay hundreds of dollars to participate in a school sanctioned extracurricular activity. Cheer teams all over the country struggle with getting the proper funds they need to purchase safety equipment and participate in competitions. Why do schools view Cheerleading as something with little to no value, and therefore not worthy of funding? When a school holds a game for basketball or football they charge for admission. This is one of the reasons that schools can validate giving these types of teams finding in the first place, because they feel as if they are being reimbursed to some extent. The value that a Cheer team brings to a school is not as obvious as admission fees, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. Cheerleaders are expected to attend games year-round to support every team from track to football. While it may be true that the cheerleading team is not the reason that most people come to the games, they still play a big part in the overall experience. They are working hard throughout the entire game just like whichever team they are there to support. They don’t even get a break during half-time because they are expected to prepare a new performance each week. These performances are free of cost to the school of course. Cheerleading teams are expected to perform several tasks over the course of the year without question or any sort of reimbursement for their hard work or commitment. These responsibilities vary from school to school but the ones I experienced the most of were pep rallies and assemblies, regardless of rather or not they correlated to sports in any way. Does the fact that Cheer teams are often viewed as free labor and entertainment for the school really not validate any funding being put into their program in return? Despite everything they do for the school Cheer teams are still subjected to having to struggle with coming up with necessary funds.Even to this day I can clearly remember every moment of my first cheer camp. It was a mentally and physically exhausting weekend, but those three days were easily responsible for some of my best memories of cheer. The problem, it costs over a hundred and fifty dollars for each girl to attend and that was only for three days. Camps and other similar functions are the best way for teams to get a chance to advance and learn new skills, but like most things they are not free. Many teams choose to participate in competitions which bring along with them entry and travel fees. Perhaps these things might seem like they are not all that important because a team doesn’t have to choose to participate in camps or competition, but what about the basic things they use every day. It is extremely difficult to master a new stunt without mats to practice on, and can even result in serious injury to one or more team members. It is also not uncommon for schools to hire coaches who are not certified to teach things like stunts and tumbling because their salaries are going to be lower than those who are. Why is it acceptable to cut corners on something as essential as providing a safe environment for cheerleaders to practice, while at the same time doling out enough money for the entire basketball team to eat out at fancy restaurants after every tournament regardless of how well they perform.Perhaps it would be different if cheer was considered a sport, but being labeled an official sport is little more than a fancy title. While people continue to focus on this title, or lack thereof, cheer teams, especially those at the high school and collegiate level, struggle with gaining not only respect for all their hard work and dedication, but also the funding they so desperately need. All because educational institutions do not see their value and feel as if spending money on them would only be a waste in the long run. The dynamic of school activities and sports is different at every school but my high school cheer team was more successful than the football team ever was. Cheer teams provide constant support and endless dedication to their schools, but that isn’t money. A successful cheer team can bring not only the winnings from any competitions they participate in but also the support of the community. Which can bring the school donations from community. However, none of these things are possible if they are too busy trying to come up with thousands of dollars every year.