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 Jan. 16 2011 at 5:43 pm
Ryan Williams BRONZE, Lititz, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 12 comments
Nobody cares what you think if you can't even spell skirt right.

on Dec. 25 2010 at 8:39 pm
ComeOnEileen BRONZE, New Carlisle, Ohio
1 article 13 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
Writer's block, meet writer's hammer.- Me on a frustrating day.

I'd have to agree. This is first and foremost a writing website, but I think this is definitely a good Hot Topic and Opinion piece. As for the whole debate, I think that arguing is pretty stupid. I'm not a cheerleader, I'm not friends with cheerleaders, but I do respect what they do. It's different from gymnastics, and I don't think for a second that I could do any of it. It sure looks crazy hard, even if I'm just going off of Bring It On movies :)

on Dec. 25 2010 at 8:37 pm
alexisabbott BRONZE, Littleton, Colorado
2 articles 2 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
Peace. Love. Happiness.

Cheerleading is defenatley a sport.  i have been cheering since i was in 3rd grade and i am now in 8th. and in the spring i am trying out for high school cheer.

noname37014 said...
on Dec. 25 2010 at 4:24 pm
noname37014, Holland, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As I write I create myself again and again."
-Joy Harjo

Just because you have a good topic, doesn't make this well written. It's redundant and doesn't really flow. I'm sure that with some revisions it could be very convincing, but right now, it falls a little short.

thecheer1990 said...
on Dec. 11 2010 at 12:51 pm
cheer is so a sport we dont just cheer u have to be strong and u have to be the best  

LiL K33kz said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 8:22 pm
love it how ppl wanna think they know more then u and you been cheering longer then they have. even tho i am on danceline we still cheer we have our little sideline cheers like cheerleaders evn tho we're more dancey but rly come on now go head and try to fulfill that little dream of urs but as far as im concerned you claim u know more but do u rly???... no matter what iwill always nd forever b a cheerleader itz in my blood cant help but to be.

cheergod10 said...
on Dec. 7 2010 at 11:09 am
Cheerleading is definatly a mentally challenging sport. There are extremly long hours of practice. I once cheered for thirty-six hours straight. There is so much to memorize and it takes every muscle in your body to stay perfectly sharp and precise. Cheerleading is the best sport known to man.

cheercoach said...
on Dec. 6 2010 at 5:27 am
I can not believe that this subject is still being debated! I began cheering for pop-warner football teams at age 6 and continued to cheer competetively through college. Now I coach a high school squad that regularly brings home trophies from regional and national competitions. Many cheerleaders are also gymnasts, who participate in cheering to keep their skills sharp throughout the year and to work on new tricks. They cheer on the sidelines, not for popularity, but because cheerleading is a school supported activity and is technically there for the school. Everthing else is gravy. And FYI, many colleges (mostly in the south and southwest) offer full-boat scholarships for cheerleading!

Bookworm said...
on Dec. 5 2010 at 4:31 pm
Cheer is a sport

on Dec. 5 2010 at 3:33 pm
Hi ok i have been a cheerleader for ten years now, and captian for 6. It is most definitly a sport and if you don't agre than you most say that football isnt a sport. because the only difference between cheerleading and football is that we throw people n they throw balls. I get that they tackle but studies hav shown that more people get injured doing cheerleading than football. also in football you jus kinda wing it on the field but in cheer you have to know what ur doing and not be of by even a second or someone could get hurt.<333

on Dec. 5 2010 at 1:49 pm
tomgirl.93 GOLD, Sudbury, Massachusetts
10 articles 2 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn who you are and stand by it."

I know you have to do them if you got hurt before, I am an athlete. But the whole idea of why seems a little crazy, at least at my school they say "I only do it so the boys will date me." So maybe thats why I feel it is messed up that girls will risk just about anything for a boy.  

rawash said...
on Dec. 4 2010 at 8:26 pm
My parents and I always talk about if cheerleading is a sport of not.  Cheerleading takes so much muscle stregth and energy it's not even funny! You also can't be afraid. If you're afraid of doing a tuck and falling on you head you can't really succeed in the world of cheerleading. Cheerleading isreally dangerous. And, a lot of cheerleaders have ankle problems because of so much tumbling and jumping. So in conclusion i most definatley consider it a sport!!

Swim4life said...
on Dec. 4 2010 at 5:23 pm

Cheerleading fits the textbook description for the sport, yet its the people who actually cheer who are the cause for doubt. Most (yes, most) girls who cheer in high school fit the description that are the evidence that it is not in any way a sport. It is a way of promoting the fact that looking good is more important than doing well, be it school or sports. It sends a negative image and attracts people who wish to be portrayed by that negative image.

All in all, one may say it's a sport, but sports have a heirarchy as well; not all "sports" were created equal!

dancer1097<3 said...
on Dec. 4 2010 at 1:36 pm
i think cheerleading is a sport because it looks like it's a lot of work. It probaly takes a practice and endurance like any other sport.

on Dec. 3 2010 at 7:13 pm
Donttrust BRONZE, Fort Collins, Colorado
1 article 2 photos 44 comments
umm no a sport doesn't have to have an offense and defense not according to Title Nine.

on Dec. 3 2010 at 7:11 pm
Donttrust BRONZE, Fort Collins, Colorado
1 article 2 photos 44 comments

ok. cheerleading is for sure a sport we don't tumble on trampolines we tumble/cheer on either gym floors or spring mats there's a huge difference and crash thank you for saying physically its a sport but not mentally but it most deffinately is a sport mentally because you can't be scared to do the skills even if you've hurt yourself on them before and you have to rely on your team mates and remember where to go

and Thanks whoever wrote this article sorry I didn't look but I find it great :) you did a good job

ilovecheer said...
on Dec. 3 2010 at 4:12 pm
haha, any idiot who doesnt think its a sport can get their lazy ass out there and do it. how flexible do you have to be to play football? -not very. it requires a lot of leg power to jump. and stunting is very exhausting. cheerleaders throw people in the air.. not a ball. :) so.. grow one and suck it up. hehehe. welllll this stuff only applies if the cheerleaders are good.. crappy ones just look dumb. hahaha.

Metallxrose said...
on Dec. 3 2010 at 3:50 pm
I do not believe cheerleading is a sport. Any girl can easily 'cheer' for her teammates, like at a volleyball game, just by sitting on the sidelines. Why don't you just do gymnastics then? Cheering can be done by anyone at any age. You don't do anything diffiuclt that with a little practice, any one else can do easily ona  trampoline and such.

on Dec. 3 2010 at 11:27 am
PirateQueen791, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't about finding yourself... Life is about creating yourself.

Excuse me, but if cheerleading is just like gymnastics, then I don't understand why cheerleaders don't just DO gymnastics. Gymnastics is a definite sport, and according to this article it's safer anyway, not to mention that its background doesn't concern the concept that girls are meant to cheer for guys. I could NEVER be a cheerleader (not that I remotely have the personality anyway) for that reason. 

on Dec. 3 2010 at 11:19 am
Okay so first of all if you're going to be rude and talk crap about cheerleading at least spell the word right because all you're doing is making yourself look stupid. Second of all I'm a cheerleader and have been for the past 6 years I know firsthand that cheer is a lot harder than most sports. I’d like to see all the people saying cheer is stupid to go try and lift a 100+ lb. girl in the air and attempt to do the tumbling skills we do. At my high school we have football players that are on the team and they tell everyone they talk to that cheer is WAY harder than football. Yeah cheering at a game isn't a sport but competitive cheer is. We follow all of the guidelines that other sports do so we should get some recognition as a spot. I'm done wasting my time trying to explain to every idiot that cheer is a sport.