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 Mar. 24 2011 at 2:00 pm
i think its a sport too cause with all the flipping and everything its kinda back breaking work so yeah i do think its a sport;)

on Mar. 23 2011 at 11:26 pm
MusicLuvsUs BRONZE, Salem, Oregon
1 article 3 photos 8 comments

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My so called life where the boy I like actually likes me back. A girl can dream, can't she?

I completely agree. If it requires a skill, then it's a sport! :)

on Mar. 23 2011 at 9:58 pm
PerfectMGymnast DIAMOND, Parker, Colorado
57 articles 25 photos 633 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you don't leap you'lll never know what it's like to fly"

i totally agree! you worded this so well!! :) and gymnastics is a sport too!!

on Mar. 23 2011 at 8:59 am
imtjustamerx3a, Aurora, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
do you actually compete against other cheerleading teams? or do you just stand on the sidelines at a football or basketball games and jump up and down obnoxiously? I will agree in the fact that some high school cheerleading teams can be competitive but only if they COMPETE. if you just workout, train, practice, and think it's "hardwork" does not give me enough proof to know that it can be labeled "competitive." think about all the sports teams that actually go out there and challenge other teams. they're main goal is to win, right? if your just standing on the sidelines cheering for a REAL sport, then what exactly is your goal? to look pretty and do your little flips? I guess I'm just really confused. Please explain.

LexieBoo said...
on Mar. 21 2011 at 10:45 am
If yur Grandma can throw a girl up over her head or hold girls over her head, Call me because I would like to see that. It takes strength and percison like any other sport!

LexieBoo! :D said...
on Mar. 21 2011 at 10:39 am
Umm I would like to see yu throw girls over yur head and catch them, Or to be able to do everything with sharp moves and it has to look good, We just dont throw a ball around and run after it or tackle the person with the ball!

LexiLou10 said...
on Mar. 9 2011 at 11:36 pm
I was both a gymnast and a cheerleader... and they are quite different. The main similarity is the tumbling skills required. Cheerleaders do what they do for the rush or adrenaline, the accomplishment of learning new stunts. Gymnastics is all for one and one for all. Cheerleading, you have a team to back you up or drag you down.

LexiLou10 said...
on Mar. 9 2011 at 11:33 pm
Hey, just to break it to you... all sports start out at any age. and more often than not, the team sucks when they are that young. Cheerleading isn't JUST about yelling loud for the team. Plus, a trampoline and a hardwood floor are 2 completely different things.

LexiLou10 said...
on Mar. 9 2011 at 11:24 pm
Well, I was a cheerleader. And yes I believe it is a sport. I'm pretty sure every cheerleader does. But I have to say sideline cheerleading is not a sport... competitive cheerleading is. But as many cheerleaders will tell you... the cheering we do at games is like a practice of sorts to us. The competition is where it's at. [:

on Mar. 1 2011 at 4:01 pm
Everyone is entitled to there opinion, even if you disagree with it. The person you told "I think cheer IS a sport" to never said anything about it not being one. They simply said that the author had a good topic but fell short with the writing. They also said the work could be improved. Other people are allowed an opinion just as much as you are. It's called the first amendment.

class2012 said...
on Feb. 20 2011 at 6:58 pm


we workout, train, practice, and its alot of hard work, maybe in your school the cheerleaders are Bull. but at my school WE ARE A SPORT. there is more then 30 of us and we are at the top of are game if u went out there and did what we do u will see.

it may not be a sport that you do but its a sport that ALOT of girls do.

and i been doing it for a long time, HS, and in ALL STAIR

ITS A SPORT U GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sdfsdfsdf said...
on Feb. 18 2011 at 9:46 am
it is a sport? you go out there & learn all the cheers, &moves...then you can say its not a sport, k? thanks(:

on Feb. 15 2011 at 9:22 am
imtjustamerx3a, Aurora, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
I completely agree with the fact that competitive cheerleading is a sport. I HATE when girls on just high school cheerleading teams think it is an actual sport. How can a sport be cheering for a sport? It doesn't make any sense to me. I'm glad this was a topic that was written about knowing the frustration I have with this topic. I do agree with you and back you up 100%!

MD100 said...
on Feb. 9 2011 at 7:06 pm
(this is to Crash on the topic of "Girls doing cheer to get the guys")

MD100 said...
on Feb. 9 2011 at 7:04 pm
well in contrast, there are other athletes who do the same thing. I also know football players who do it just for the girls? But of course most of them aren't like that at all, so same goes for cheer. At my school, the whole team does it for their passion, not as a way of attention. Maybe you're school is different, but im just putting it out there that you cant stereotype

sheepshortie said...
on Jan. 29 2011 at 11:00 pm
Last year, I scoffed at cheerleading like the majority of people in the world, until my friend convinced me to try out. I did, and I realized from the first day of practice what a true sport cheerleading really is. There's really no feeling like nailing a new stunt or being praised by your coach after finally memorizing a dance. Why do we become cheerleaders, despite all the ridicule, and why aren't we just gymnasts if we can tumble? Because nothing in the world is better than finishing your routine and looking at the crowd, and thinking, I did it. As you kick, jump, stunt, dance, cheer, and tumble, there's no second chances. You have an entire gym full of people watching you, and if you mess up, you can't prove yourself later in the game like a football or basketball player can. Our squad becomes our second family; our best friends. We may end up coming back to school at 7:30 in the morning or at 7:30 at night for practice, but we are dedicated to our sport like few other athletes are. All girls, whether they are willing to admit it or not, wanted to be a cheerleader when they were little. That's who we cheer for, the little girl inside of us who wished, more than anything, to be a member of the cheerleading squad when she became a high schooler. We cheer because we love to do it, and because we want to keep that little girl alive in all of us.

on Jan. 26 2011 at 1:37 pm
Cheerleading is  a high like of my  day. i have been in cheerleading since 3trd grade and now im graduated

blossom said...
on Jan. 23 2011 at 6:09 pm

no name said...
on Jan. 23 2011 at 6:07 pm
hahahahahaha yeah right cheerleading is anything but a sport....all u do is throw people up in the air and dance theres nothing to it... even my grandma can do

on Jan. 16 2011 at 7:18 pm
ohsnapitsmegan BRONZE, Stockton, California
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
Writing is just thinking on paper

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. That isn't very nice. I think it is well written and I think cheer leading IS a sport.