Is cheerleading a sport?

By Jayna Hill Posted October 22, 2008

Jayna Hill, Reporter
Jayna Hill, Reporter

Many people think cheerleading is not a sport. Cheerleaders wear cute outfits and wave around pompoms. But, there is much more to cheerleading than just how one looks.

Cheerleading involves physical and mental abilities. To be a cheerleader you must be dedicated and loyal to your squad and yourself. Just like any other sport, cheerleading takes practice and it’s not as easy as it may look.

The dictionary definition of a sport is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.

Cheerleading most definitely falls under all of these categories. First, one needs to be in top physical condition to be a cheerleader. Throwing someone eight feet up in the air then catching them in a “cradle”, without anyone getting hurt, takes physical skill and conditioning, both for the base and for the flyer completing an extension while in the air. Some people say ‘anyone can be a cheerleader,” but they are greatly mistaken.

Who decides what a sport is? What is it that makes a sport a sport anyway? Is it the ball? Well, wrestlers don’t play with a ball like football or basketball, or baseball, but wrestling is still considered a sport. Is it the sweat? Well, cheerleaders sweat, too. So maybe it’s the practice? Oh, wait, cheerleaders, practice just as hard as or harder than other activities considered “sports.” Does it take dedication to qualify as a sport? Because cheerleaders are definitely dedicated. Measured by these standards cheerleading is clearly a sport. Why then do some continue to deny it?

Cheerleaders meet the exact same qualifications as other sports do; we practice; we develop strength, stamina, and skills; we have rules for competition; we bring home trophies; we get injuries and we are dedicated to constantly improving the sport of cheerleading. Maybe you should think twice next time when asked if cheerleading is a sport.

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