Cheerleading revisited

By Jayna Hill Posted December 17, 2008

After the last printed edition of The Brand, a few people were upset by one article in particular. The article claiming that cheerleading is indeed a sport.

Senior Jamie Walton found the article particularly disturbing his response was, “Cheerleaders sit at practice and boast about whose boyfriend is hotter, who is the best kisser, and so on and so forth. They sit there and stretch, but are they really stretching? Every sport requires its players to be loose so muscles aren’t pulled. How can a cheerleader pull a muscle? They sit on the sidelines while a true team sport is out there getting tackled or going up for a rebound. In a true team sport, each team is competing against each other for the win. The only time a cheer squad is at competition is maybe once or twice a year.

Granted, they are there for support, but they just wear outfits and have pom-poms. They aren’t any different than the Cameron Crazies who support the Duke Blue Devils at every home event, or any different than Trevin Jarrett and David Eastman going crazy at a home volleyball game.”

Walton does have good point; both cheerleaders and dance team members compete once or twice a year. However, every other accusation is faulty. Stretching is crucial to cheerleaders, how else would they be able to do the splits? Walton’s asinine ideas about what actually goes on during cheerleading practice are completely unrealistic and egotistical. Sure cheerleaders are there to support Lowry’s team that is playing but they most definitely do not “sit on the sidelines.” Supporting other teams is important but, cheerleaders use games as a practice for their actual competition. Despite the common misconception, cheerleaders don’t just show up at team games for fun.

Sophomore Jacob Laird defined a sport as “Something you practice to do better, where you compete and there has to be a team.” Laird agreed that cheerleading is a sport. Junior Jake Maga’s interpretation of a sport is “a competitive hobby requiring physical activity or skill and is directed with rules.” Maga also qualifies cheerleading as a sport. Some people claim that cheerleading isn’t a sport because there is no direct competition. Meaning when cheerleaders go to competition they don’t all compete at the same time. In football, you have both teams on the field at the same time, and in cheerleading, you compete one at a time. Also, there is not direct contact in cheer. However, there is direct contact in cheer it’s called stunting. Just because cheerleaders don’t tackle each other doesn’t mean that there is not direct contact or competition.

As you can see the definition of a sport varies from person to person. To me, cheerleading is in fact a sport, it requires physical activity, skill, it is directed by rules, and there is a competitive nature involved, what else do you need?

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