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.

squirt1552 said...
on May. 16 2011 at 12:45 pm
You probably shouldn't call other people uneducated when you can't even spell the word 'plain'... Jst Sayin :)

on May. 12 2011 at 2:03 pm
UMMMM! Cheerleading is soooo a sport! I am a sideline and competion cheerleader. Cheerleading is a hard thing. I would really like to see you try and do a stunt sequences that has stunts tumbleing and a cheer with stunts. I would like to see you try a tun of back handspring and then into something else. Cheerleading takes alot of hard work. You need to work your butt off. You will get hurt. But you need to love this sport! to keep going after you get hurt! So yes cheerleading is a sport!

on May. 10 2011 at 8:26 am

cheerleading is def. a sport, you don't just throw people in the air, dance, and throw your arms in the air like people think. you actually have to have some sort of muscle. you use leg muscle to jump in the air, tumble ect. Cheerleading is a physical activity i believe... its NOT what everyone thinks it is...



just saying.

on May. 8 2011 at 10:23 am
okay first of all Cheerleading is a sport that is geared towards selfobsorbed girls but it can be a sport. I play alot of sports and Throwing someone high up in the air and makeing a pyramid seems very very very very difficult.  If you compete then I think its a sport but anyone can jump up and down and say GOOOO TEAM and wear super short skirts. At my church they had a choice play Football or be a cheerleader I was the only girl on my team and all the others were jumping up and down on the side lines yelling GOOOOO TEAM YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!

on May. 6 2011 at 12:54 pm

My cheer group only haad one stunt group an we went to statess. CHeering is amazingg


cheergrl said...
on May. 6 2011 at 9:39 am
how about you learn how to spell cheerleader before you claim to be one!

on May. 4 2011 at 2:24 pm
who cares what you think!!!!!

on Apr. 26 2011 at 1:09 pm
Yes ; How iAgree With You So Much On That ; iAm Also A HighSchool Cheerleader And No One And iMean NO ONE Believes In Us Its Sad !

mykindaparty said...
on Apr. 23 2011 at 11:43 pm
There is a whole other side of cheerleading most people don't even know about! Its called all star cheerleading and it never involves being at games and is completely unrelated to any school. All you do is go to competitions where you are up against tons of teams at a time. You go to at least one every month and there are ones that you have to win something to go to. There's a world championship, there's rings to win, rivalries, the whole nine yards. Many girls are on more than one team for their gym and can even leave the country just to go to a competition! Lots of school teams have tried modeling their programs after all star teams and most colleges are ran by all star coaches. It is a major part of the cheerleading world but is highly disregarded.

heycaraa said...
on Apr. 21 2011 at 11:48 am
okay, i'm a highschool cheerleader and our squad is very small we only have three stunt groups cause no one in our school believes in us. But we shut them up after the fact we competed throughout the whole basketball and wrestling season and mostly won all of them beating a college team and a teams around our area that no one could beat. So if you say cheerleading is not a sport than your wrong because i would really LOVE to see you and anyone else go out there lift a girl while that girl is doing so much stuff in the air, or have them double out of stunt, or go do a tumbling pass. Cheerleading takes time, strength, courage, respect, positivity and much more.

cheer4life said...
on Apr. 17 2011 at 11:18 am
Anybody out there bashing competitive cheer is just pain uneducated.... Obviously they havent put someone up before or been up in the air. its deff a sport. picking someone up and throwing them 15 feet in the air is as PHYSICAL as it can get.

Betaboo BRONZE said...
on Apr. 14 2011 at 11:29 am
Betaboo BRONZE, Belmont, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
this article is talking about COMPETITIVE CHEERLEADING, not sideline, and it clearly states so. It also mentions the fact that sideline is NOT a sport, but if you still have that thought about competitive, that is the key word. COMPETITIVE. They spend all their time preparing for real organized competitions with rules and judges and they chuck their friends up in the air to do backflips on sometimes unpadded floors. Read the article again maybe? There's your explanation.

cheerfreakIE said...
on Apr. 13 2011 at 12:42 pm
i would like to see you lift up a person and do a bunch of flips on the GROUND!

on Apr. 13 2011 at 8:34 am
Cheerleading isn’t a sport, it has it’s own category of difficulty. Therefore, it’s more than a sport. I 100% agree with this article.... SCHOOL cheer IS NOT a SPORT but Competitive Cheer IS A SPORT! Its one of the most athletic sports out there! :P

on Mar. 30 2011 at 9:08 pm
ugh yeah definatly. theres a point system, rules guidelines, and everything

sunshine said...
on Mar. 29 2011 at 10:45 am
cheerleading is a sport

carmooo said...
on Mar. 28 2011 at 11:22 am
watever u r such a liar

racheyyy said...
on Mar. 28 2011 at 11:20 am
cheerleading is a sport cause i say so cause im a cheerleder

on Mar. 27 2011 at 7:48 pm
Competitive cheer is amazing. I am an Allstar cheerleader and its really hard work and takes stregth, dedication, and skill

on Mar. 25 2011 at 11:11 am
I completely agree with this article!  My school cheer squad competes and have won 1st in state before and this year we got 2nd.  It is most definately a sport and anyone who disagrees needs to understand why they are wong.