Cheerleading is not just rah rah on the sidelines anymore. Cheerleaders are now throwing their teammates in the air and still managing to catch them. They are also flipping their bodies upside down multiple times in a row. Cheerleading for our generation is not exactly what it was for the generation before us.
In my opinion, cheerleading IS a sport and should be recognized as a sport by all people. Cheerleaders work so hard and often do not get the recognition they deserve. As cheerleading is becoming more and more popular, questions have been raised of whether or not cheerleading is a sport.
“I do think cheerleading is a sport because it involves physical exercises and the people perform acrobatic stunts that the average person could not,” Chase Stadtler ‘19.
There are two types of cheerleading: competitive (also known as all-star) and side-line. Competitive cheerleading is a team outside of school in which you have different levels and compete with a gym. Cheerleaders practice anywhere from five to 10 hours a week and still manage to do it with a smile on their face. The levels are 1-5 and each have different skill requirements. All-star cheerleading features dance, tumbling, stunts, pyramid, and jumps, but not any cheers. All-star cheerleaders also compete at competitions across the globe such as NCA, UCA, and Worlds or Summit. Cheerleaders from all over the world compete at these competitions.
“…Cheerleaders practice just as much as any other sport because getting to the level they cheer at takes practice. They have to lift girls and throw them into the air, so you have to be pretty strong for that,” said Bryce Earley ’19, a field hockey player at All Saints’.
Side-line cheerleading is for a school and although they also have dance, tumble, jumps, and pyramids, they also have cheers. These are the cheerleaders that you see on the sidelines of a football or basketball games. Sometimes different schools have competitive teams which do compete; they only compete against other schools instead of gyms.
The Women’s Sports Foundation narrowed the definition of sport to these elements:
- a physical activity that involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of a mass
- a contest or competition against or with an opponent
- is governed by rules that explicitly define the time, space and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared
- the acknowledged primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants
Cheerleading meets all of these requirements and it IS a sport. Cheerleaders motivate and cheer on the football and basketball teams without complaining! The hard work, dedication, strength, and stamina it takes to be a cheerleader is incredible.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Injury, cheerleading is the number one cause of serious injury to women due to sports. Cheerleaders do not wear protective gear while they are thrown into the air or flip their bodies, so there are five times the number of emergency room visits than any other sport.
“A cheerleader is putting themselves in just as much danger when stunting as a football player does while playing a game,” said Lucy Reason, a field hockey player at All Saints’.
Hannah Jones ’19 weighed in from the cheerleader’s perspective.
“I guess it depends if there is a competition in which you are competing with other squads than yes, but if you are not then I guess no. But at All Saints’ it’s a sports credit so I think it could go either way,” Jones said.
Cheerleaders practice, sometimes compete, and put themselves in danger every day and seem to get no recognition for it. Cheerleading IS a sport and meets the definition of a sport (and is even given sports credit).
Out of 20 All Saints’ students asked, 75 percent of students said that cheerleading is a sport. Tell us what you think in the comment section!