Cheerleading: Not just a sideline sport

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Jeniya Moore, Editor: Virginia Bates

The common misconception about cheerleading is that cheerleading consists of all girls wearing skirts cheering on the sidelines for another sport.  Though this is true, and a small portion of what cheerleading is, this is not cheer. 

According to Oxford Language cheerleading is “A sport involving the performance of organized cheering, chanting, dancing in support of a sports team at games.”  I would like to strongly disagree.

Now first, let’s get into the real definition of cheerleading.  In the report of Ultimate Cheer “Cheerleading is a team-based sport that involves stunting, pyramids, baskets, tumbling, jumps, and dance.” 

There are 3 main types of cheerleading.  There is school cheer, college cheer, and all-star cheer.  School cheer is when you sideline for other sports by encouraging them with chants and/or stunts.  Typically for school cheer, there are very few competitions to compete in and you compete against other schools. 

College cheer is usually the highest level of cheer and consists of adults.  College cheer is very similar to school cheer, when it comes to cheering at games and supporting other sports teams, however the skill level range is very high and the most dangerous skills are performed in college cheer.  Cheering for college you may also have very few competitions, but mostly because of the skill set. 

Lastly, we have all-star cheer.  All-star cheer is when you are cheering for a company and not a school and go against other companies.  For all-star you only do competitions and have practice at least 3-4 times a week.

Personally, when someone tells me that cheerleading isnt a sport I get offended. 

In basketball or football, you are building bonds with people, working your body, growing physically, and competing or going against another team.  In cheer it is the same thing. 

For cheer you have to build a bond with your teammates and build trust so that when you are stunting you are able to trust your stunt group, working out almost every day of the week to build muscle and strength,  going over your skills repeatedly so that it sticks and is almost muscle memory, and competing against other teams who are on the same skill level as you and maybe even better until there is a winner. 

I believe cheer can be considered a sport just like anything else.  The mental and physical commitment cheer takes is heavy on the body and mind and shouldn’t be downsized because the true meaning of cheer is getting lost in translation.  In a turn of events, the US Olympic committee has decided to add cheerleading as a sport for the olympics, starting 2024.

Cheer has changed my life in ways I cannot even comprehend, and I am so thankful that I got into it, and I am ready to watch myself continue to grow as an athlete.  Hopefully this article changed your perception about cheer and gave you a new way to think.