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.

CheerbbyK said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 4:17 pm
Dancers make great cheerleaders bc they do simmular stuff cheerleaders do. Im a cheerleader and starting the second week of november  I'm in practice 3-4 hours until march. usually i would have until the end of may til it starts up but this year i'm going to be trying to keep up with two diffrent cheer teams (april) and (may) im sure i'd make the teams no problems.

Cheerbbyk said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 4:09 pm
I'd like to read that paper. Im doing a reasch paper on y people think it isn't a sport.

Justin Sucks said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 4:06 pm
And Justin Bieber's singing sucks so.....everythings good in this neiborhood

CheerLoveR said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 4:03 pm
If she wasn't on a cheer team they probally were not that suggsesful. And not creative either. My team has awesome team bonding activitys (better than posters) go out to eat. Go to the mall. Team Sleepovers are awesome.

Cheerbbyk said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 3:58 pm
btw states is as far as MHSAA cheer goes. And i do understand how it feels when you make it as far as you possiblly can at something you love to do. and im going to college next year and planning to compeate at disney. Cant wait. and i misscounted. this is my 6th year cheering.

CheerbbyK said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 3:48 pm
I have cheered for 7 years in competitive cheerleading (MHSAA) My Jr year of high school (last year) we made it to states. I know its hard. It takes an athleate to do the things we do. I don't care if people don't concider it a sport. Its when people tell me we arnt athleates that bugs me.

TribeCheer55 said...
on Nov. 2 2011 at 12:39 pm

Well, for one he has no clue what he is talking about. When we you people understand cheer IS a sport, and its not just a sport, its a passion, for BOYS AND GIRLS. And to "TheJudge" whe i say "cheer competition" i mean COMPETITIVE, and no, i dont mean the local ones, i means WORLDS, at Orlando Flordia, its only the big dogs, Level 5 and level 6. Go there and tell me cheer isn't a sport. Cause im sure it would change your mind. Its held in Walt Disney Worlds in the WIDE WORLDS OF SPORTS. AND its brodcasted on ESPN EVERY year. You just dont go, your asked to go, and they pay your plane ticket your Walt Disney Worlds tickets and everythong else. Over 300 teams competed at Worlds 2011. It was so packed people were standing in the isle, so yeah, cheer is a sport ADN its a big deal.

CheerbbyK said...
on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:27 pm
We cant wear protective gear. It would make it that much harder. Its hard to lift  100lbs of ass into the air. I don't want to lift anymore

CheerbbyK said...
on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:15 pm
that was suposed to be posed as a reply

CheerbbyK said...
on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:13 pm
I don't think he is dumb...just...well idk what to call it, but cheerleading is dangerous. The reason why its hard on the body is because of how we fall. When you fall from a stunt. its like falling from a twenty foot building. It hurts. (Although if the cheerleaders acually did the stuff correctly you wouldn't have to go to a sports doctor for an injury you could have avoided.)

on Oct. 29 2011 at 6:21 pm
sparkleme BRONZE, Saint Peters, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“If people don’t like me for whatever I do, for being me, then that’s too bad. I don’t want to change to be something that I’m not for other people to like me.”

Hey, I'm a cheerleader and I think it is a sport. We compete, we exercise, and we have teams. We are no different than any other sport. You tell them, girl!

on Oct. 29 2011 at 5:58 pm
PhilosophicalLinx BRONZE, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
3 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
" I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

it probably isn't recognized as an Official sport because It is one of few sports that the focus is almost completely on women. and men aren't really the ones to get involved with cheering (i can see one now.. trying to fit into the outfit), just as football is all boy (mostly) a sport in which few brave women dare to get involved with. what a bias world, In fact I can't think of any sport that gives all the attention to female atheletes excluding unisex sports. I mean PGA, NBA, NFL, NHS, and nascar not one of the feminine sports ballerina, tumbling, gymnastics, are viewed at a national stand point. diminuitive, I think and no I am not a girl.... if you were thinking this

TribeCheer55 said...
on Oct. 24 2011 at 12:25 pm
Okay, well your dumb. So thats your problem. Im pretty sure its the most hardest sport on your body and the most difficult. Go to a SPORTS doctor and ask them, see what they say, cause im pretty sure they would tell you that its the the most hardest physical sport out there.

TheJudge said...
on Oct. 17 2011 at 12:03 pm
actually i have been to a cheering compitition, as my wife is a coach and no, its not a sport. it is also no where near the most dangerous activity or the hardest on the body. i dont have enough fingers to list all the actual sports that are more dangerous or physically harder. and no, opinions shouldnt be kept quiet. whether nice or not. this country was built on voicing your opinion.

TribeCheer55 said...
on Oct. 14 2011 at 9:37 am
Tenwyg, i couldn't agreee more. I have soo much respect for you. Well saaid.

TribeCheer55 said...
on Oct. 14 2011 at 9:28 am
Cheerleading is a sport. Sideline may not be but Competitve is. Have any of you that say cheer isn't a sport even been to a competiive cheer competition before or performed? No, im sure you haven't. Im pretty positive it the most dangerous sport out there. Even my SPORTS doctor said specifically, "cheerleading is the most hardest sport for your body". Im sure half of you just know about Sideline cheer and not Competitive, well competitive is SO different from Sideline, TRUST ME. Im a competitive cheerleader myself, i've played basketball, baseball, and soceer, none of those are not even close to being as hard as Competitve cheer. So ya'll should really keep your opions to yourself unless there positive.

on Oct. 14 2011 at 9:08 am
Okay, your obviously the stupid one. Im sure you WERENT a cheerleader, & i'm talking about competitive, not stupid sidline cheer, have you ever been to a competitive compettion, or even have performed? I'm sure you havent, it most deffinatley IS a sport, would you like it if we said your sport was no kind of sport? Im sure you wouldnt.

on Oct. 14 2011 at 9:08 am
Okay, your obviously the stupid one. Im sure you WERENT a cheerleader, & i'm talking about competitive, not stupid sidline cheer, have you ever been to a competitive compettion, or even have performed? I'm sure you havent, it most deffinatley IS a sport, would you like it if we said your sport was no kind of sport? Im sure you wouldnt.

basketball98 said...
on Oct. 13 2011 at 9:02 am
basketball98, Arcadia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
honestly i didnt read the artical.  and i was a cheerleader, it wasnt at all hard. it was in my option stupid.  so i am not anymore. all our chearleader do is make signs and they're even loud at the games!!

on Oct. 12 2011 at 1:33 pm

Cheerleading is no sport