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Cheerleading IS a sport

Cheerleading has all qualifications to be a sport. So is it?

Shayne Harms, Staff Writer

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Most people are still stuck on the idea that cheerleading is just yelling, “Go team go!” during a football game. It has evolved into so much more than that.

“It is a sport with growing popularity, a strong youth focus in schools and universities, and we noted that” says Kit McConnell, IOC (*International Olympic Committee*) sports director when talking about the Olympics declaring cheerleading a sport.

Cheerleaders go through so much, just to make it to where they are. Unreasonable hours at practice, awful conditioning regimens, and endless amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. They do anything possible just for a ring, jacket, trophy, and bragging rights.

Most every All-Star cheerleaders dream, is to make it to (*The United States All Star Federation or USASF for short*) Worlds. The USASF (United States All Star Federation) World Championships are the end of the line for the season. Worlds is only available to level 5 teams.

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” is the Google definition of a sport. Cheerleading has plenty of physical exertion during full-outs, conditioning, tumbling, and stunting. Cheerleading simplified, is two and a half minutes of using most muscles in your body while smiling.

Most cheer teams do compete. At competitions, cheer teams showcase their routine (must include: stunts, tumbling, jumps, pyramid, and a dance section.) and are judged, on who has the most difficulty, most facials, and exciting showmanship.

Most All-Star Cheerleaders spend their whole lives training for that one moment. Close to how Football Players train their whole lives to enter the NFL, or the NBA for Basketball. Cheerleaders make themselves feel stupid for the chance of winning a title.

Cheerleaders do everything they can to complete a two and a half minute routine, hit their stunts, throw their tumbling, heighten their jumps, and make it look easy.

I am a Varsity High School cheerleader, and a previous all-star, and Pop Warner cheerleader. I have been to the Pop Warner Nationals twice. My first year winning 11th place with South Valley Grizzlies Peewee cheer team and my second year winning eighth with Almaden Valley Mustangs Varsity team.

In All-Star I won third place at Aloha Spirit Championships twice, and first at JAMZ Northern Challenge Cup once. Gunderson High School does not have a competition team this year, however we have performed halftime dances every Varsity football game this season, and plan to do the same for Basketball season.

“If Gymnastics is a sport, then cheer is”, says Gabriella Lau, a ninth grader at Pioneer High School, “Plus they have to do just as much conditioning as any other sport.”

Is cheerleading a sport?

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In All-Star cheer, we typically change the routine many times before actually performing. They also have plenty of practices soon before competitions. There’s also the fact that All-Star cheerleaders have to deal with hair and makeup. It has to be completely over the top so they don’t look washed out.

Concussions make up the most common injury in cheer. 31% of cheerleading injuries are concussions. A recent study shows(Link), cheerleading ranked second, behind gymnastics, in sports that require athletes to be out for three weeks to the end of the season.

Some people say cheerleading is not a sport. They do have a valid argument. They may say, cheerleading is a club, that supports actual sports. They could also say that it isn’t very athletic, or that it’s an excuse for girls to get together to cheer on their football boyfriends. However, cheerleaders compete. Cheerleaders spend entire summers just exercising, and conditioning. Lastly, although some cheerleaders do cheer for their football boyfriends, typically, the ones who only do it for that reason, don’t make the team. The ones who do it for that reason as well as the fact that they love cheer, will make the team. Because of all these reasons combined cheerleading is a sport.

 

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