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 492 comments.


on Dec. 6 2011 at 9:49 am
How would more recognition as a sport decrease injuries? Where is your evidence?

ashleymarie said...
on Dec. 5 2011 at 2:19 pm
basketball98, grow up. 

ashleymarie said...
on Dec. 5 2011 at 2:16 pm
Agreeeeeeeeeeed.

on Nov. 20 2011 at 9:33 am
PinkKitty BRONZE, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
I agree completely, cheerleading involves lots of hard work!

cheer lover said...
on Nov. 16 2011 at 7:49 pm
cheerleading is a sport SMART ONES 

ilove2cheer said...
on Nov. 14 2011 at 9:36 am
i have been a cheerleader for my whole life and who ever thinks its not a sport i would like to see you try it it is really hard to do

on Nov. 13 2011 at 9:52 pm
I totally agree with you! Guys can cheer just as well as girls! I wish we had a guy or two on our squad, because a lot of them can do some pretty amazing stunts and flips:D

on Nov. 13 2011 at 9:50 pm
Cheerleading is DEFINETELY A SPORT, and anyone who says that it isn't is a loser. Our high school squad cheers for football, basketball, and we compete in competitions, so if that isn;t a sport, then I don't know what is. I would like to see everyone who says that cheerleading isn't a sport come and do our routine and stunts and get back to me. It is hard, and takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I love this sport with all my heart!!!!!! Cheerleading is amazing:D<3333333333333

on Nov. 11 2011 at 12:32 pm
yes cheerleading is a sport. but i disagree with what Kenziee said...you said and i quote ''no boy could ever do what a cheerleader does..." IM A GUY CHEERLEADER!

on Nov. 9 2011 at 5:25 pm
Freedom.ThroughPens GOLD, Alpharetta, Georgia
17 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Einstein

If you were referring to me, the article I wrote should be located on my profile.

jcheergirl98 said...
on Nov. 9 2011 at 11:14 am
thank you.  The reason im reading this is because im actually doin a paper, too for why it should be considered a sport, hah funny beacue im only 12, and your probably older than me and were doin the same research...haha lol bye :P

jcheergirl98 said...
on Nov. 9 2011 at 11:10 am
omg!!! you are so right. I have cheer'd for most of my life, and it is the hardest thing ever. Cheerleading is my life, and for those who say its not a sport need to go and try it, because they wouldnt last an hour!!! You dont need a ball for it to be considered a sport. Dancing is a sport and so is gymnastics, so put those together, and add amazing stunting, and your good. I am right now on 3 squads, one is my school team, one is a competition squad, and the other is sideline and competition squad, and everyday for atleast 3 hours, i have practice and we come home sweating, with bruises every where, so everyone who says its not a sport, i would pay you 20 bucks each person just to see them try it and actually last for the whole week with me on each squad. You need agility,determination,flexibility,coordination,rhythm,dance ability, a loud voice,skill,athletism,strength,stamina, and ready to get hurt for your flyers everyday all the time!! I love the people who say it is a sport and thanks!!

on Nov. 9 2011 at 7:51 am
CHEERLEADING IS TO A SPORT BECAUSE IF IT WASNT FOR CHEERLEADING THERE PROBABLY WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY NO SPIRIT AT ANY KIND OF SPORT THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Kenziee said...
on Nov. 8 2011 at 9:58 am
I am a cheerleader and yes it is a sport no boy could ever do what a cheerleader does... they couldt last one pratice. And to all of you that think its not a sport IT IS!! We work our butts if day and day out sooo read the facts then come back!! :D

basketball98 said...
on Nov. 7 2011 at 7:11 pm
basketball98, Arcadia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
i have been to a college game... they didn't impress me!!!! so what if i am 13 i am allowed to express my opinion.       what!!!

on Nov. 7 2011 at 6:37 pm
this is soooo dumb. Ive been doing cheerleading almost my whole life, and your telling me its not a SPORT? go to WORLDs, or even a state competition. seriously or a high school one even!! why are they called COMPETITIONS if its not a sport?! i want to take you people and make you lift a 100 pound girl above your head and hold her there, or maybe do a round off back handspring back tuck 34652874 times just to make sure it is absolutly FLAWLESS!? or how about do a whole reutin infront of judges and get .3 off and get second place because of .3! and your trying to tell us that we put all this work, all this etthic into something thats not a sport is beyond me! its amazing how ignorant and nieve you guys are! 

cheer101 said...
on Nov. 3 2011 at 7:48 pm
u were born in 98...therefore ur still a baby in school...meaning your opinion means nothing =] Go 2 an actuall college game with real cheerleaders preforming things youve never seen before in your life. Then we'll have a convo.

basketball98 said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 7:48 pm
basketball98, Arcadia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
TriibeCheer55 i think you need to be nicer and stop calling people STUPID, that can hurt people!!! obivously we all know u think cheerleading is a sport but, some of us dont and that is ok.... just get over ur self and take a chill pill!!!!!!!!!!!!! and are u sure ur sports doctor actually has a medical degree???

basketball98 said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 7:40 pm
basketball98, Arcadia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
i totally agree with "JB"!!!!!! is it not a sport!!!! and i dont care what other people say it wont affect my opinion!!!!

CheerLoVeR said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 4:27 pm
I don't care that its not concidered a sport because even if it's not concidered a sport officially, The cheerleaders who have made it to the top have ovioulsy worked out butts off getting there (probally why we don't wiegh to much) We also understand that it is very competitive and when i look out into a stand I see 10 times more people at our compititions than i ever do at football games. which must mean we are respected by the people we love and care about. And there are people who respect us as athleates.