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 497 comments.

WesleyZ BRONZE said...
on Mar. 18 at 11:28 am
WesleyZ BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
nuh uh

on Feb. 8 at 10:57 am
EpsteinIsland, Cripston, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments
nuh uh

on Jun. 7 2023 at 9:35 am
SadieIsNumber1 BRONZE, Weatherford, Texas
1 article 4 photos 12 comments
i do agree that cheerleading is a sport but i wouldn't say that it is not a girls' sport. both boys' and girls' enjoy cheerleading and it isnt gender specific.

on Feb. 13 2023 at 11:21 am
thejiltedprophet BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You are the knife I turn inside myself; that is love. That, my dear, is love." --Franz Kafka

You are correct, and it physically pains me to see all the ignorant comments made by folks who clearly didn't understand or read your article. These people completely lack critical thinking, grammar skills, and the slightest trace of attention span enough to process your writing. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the naysayers are misogynistic underdeveloped high school boys.

on Jul. 16 2022 at 5:58 am
Hilarioushaiqa SILVER, Lahore, Other
9 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

I still do not agree much with your opinion. Cheerleading is not a sport because it is hooting for your specific team that is playing another sport like football. Which means that it is not independent

gradyfaim12 said...
on May. 16 2022 at 10:57 am
gradyfaim12, Alma, Nebraska
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
no its not

on May. 16 2022 at 10:00 am
LittleMan0309, Alma, Nebraska
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Cheerleading is not a sport.

on Oct. 15 2021 at 8:43 am
JackPrent BRONZE, Houghton, New York
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
It is a sport but also the worst and least entertaining

Skye485 BRONZE said...
on Apr. 14 2021 at 10:20 pm
Skye485 BRONZE, Chandler, Arizona
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”-Lao Tzu

I really do agree with this post. That being said, your claim that cheerleading is a sport because it met guidelines created by Cheerleading Advisors doesn't really work. Your piece would have been stronger if you had used a definition from a more general source and then shown how cheer supports that. Overall, thank you so much for bringing up this issue, especially the part about injuries.

JoeBiden said...
on Feb. 2 2021 at 1:55 pm
JoeBiden, Washington, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
My fellow Americans, here's the deal!

My fellow Americans, Cheerleading is in fact, a sport. Schools, colleges around the nation should recognize it as such. I have a plan, that will make Cheerleading recognized by all. It will be brought to the House of Representatives right after the COVID Crisis.

- President Biden

KJ03 said...
on Oct. 19 2020 at 8:42 am
KJ03, Ewing, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments
This essay might have just changed my opinion on whether cheerleading is a sport, at first I would've told you no it isn't but after reading this I can say I've gained a respect for competitive cheerleaders but not pom pom entertaining cheerleaders.

weeeberboi said...
on Feb. 10 2020 at 10:53 am
weeeberboi, Springboro, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Ricky Bobby - As the great Colonel Sanders once said "I'm too drunk to taste this chicken."
Max Getz - The laziest pickle is always the last one in the jar.

cheer leading is as much a sport as a diabetes competition

Madichloe15 said...
on Apr. 2 2019 at 12:04 pm
Madichloe15, Plano, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
i completely agree I am a cheerleader myself and so many people say " you loves sports so why are you participating in something that isn't a sport?" But it is and they just don't understand that

on Mar. 28 2019 at 12:19 pm
mikeshabrown17, Austell, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
i believe cheer leading is a sport,it is really active. people should not say it isn't because it is.

igeurytas said...
on Mar. 25 2019 at 12:58 pm
igeurytas, Plano, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
@i-dont-care cheerleading is more difficult? oh? have you played... football? basketball? swimming? water-polo? i disagree wholeheartedly

i-dont-care said...
on Mar. 22 2019 at 8:15 am
i-dont-care, Mt Sterling, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
@JackCuncannan cheerleading is a thousand times more difficult than any other sport and most certainly deserves the title of being a sport these girls do so much more than you so stop talk trash. one u actually get off your lazy butt and start moving then you can talk trash but that wont happen because you're to fat to get off the couch!!

on Apr. 27 2018 at 1:23 pm
JackCuncannan BRONZE, Wyoming, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I think you forgot a n't on is in your title

on Apr. 23 2018 at 1:35 pm
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

If you would've read the article carefully, you would've noted that in the first paragraph, the author states the difference between sideline cheerleaders and competitive ones.

on Apr. 23 2018 at 9:29 am
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

If gymnastics is a sport, then so is cheerleading. Both are activities that require physical and mental strength. Have any of you ever watched cheerleaders cheer? Their routines are like those of gymnasts; they have to stretch their legs and be very flexible while enduring physical exertion. Cheerleading is definitely a sport.

KokoLuver said...
on Apr. 9 2018 at 1:09 pm
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I do not believe regular primary and secondary school cheerleading is a sport due to the fact that they mainly stand and yell. When done outside of school when tumbling and gymnastics may be involved that is considered more athletic and seems more like a sport than standing there yelling