Sport or Not?

Why Cheerleading Should be Taken More Seriously as a Sport

Zaire Thomas, Staff Writer

“All around the world you know what we do. We are the panthers, is that enough for you?”  

What comes to mind when you hear cheerleaders at a game – whether they’re an athlete or an entertainer – depends on your perspective regarding just whether cheer is a sport.

Many think that cheerleading is just a school-based activity, but, in fact, cheer clubs exist all around the country. Just like club teams exist for sports such as basketball, baseball, or soccer, so do club teams exist for cheerleading. These teams, such as local groups like Shockwave, Cheer Extreme, and Maryland Twisters are competitive teams that do a lot more than just cheering for a school team. 

Those who feel that cheerleading is not a sport say that you don’t really go head to head with an opponent like other sports. In fact, Brea Darnell of Daily Republic, a Solano County California newspaper, says that cheer doesn’t fit the description for a sport. “It is an activity solely dedicated to entertain and motivate the crowd during sports events,” says Darnell. However, what Darnell and others who feel the same way are missing is that cheerleading is a whole lot more than just engaging the crowd and supporting your team.  In fact, they do a whole lot more than many may believe.
Cheerleading involves tumbling, stunting, jumps and many other athletic skills. Cheerleaders work out and perfect their craft just like any other sport. The endless hours of practice are exhibited on a weekly basis at games during pre-game, in-game, and halftime performances. While the crowd enjoys these performances and is definitely “entertained” by them, it is important to recognize this hard work and the immense amount of time they put in to prepare. Game-day performances are, essentially, their final rehearsals before their own competitions and this should not go unnoticed. 

In addition to their game-related performances, cheer teams experience stress during competition season related to early morning practices, two a-day rehearsals and repetitive choreography which causes pain in the legs and back. Cheerleaders tend to not get the credit that they deserve because people feel as though it’s not important, or they just don’t find it engaging. Nevertheless, just because you are not a fan of something doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a negative outlook on the sport or not give it the respect it deserves. 

The article “Being a Cheerleader-Is Cheerleading a sport?” from Varsity Cheer, a cheerleading website that sells apparel and offers a variety of articles on cheer, contributes to the argument that it is a sport. In the article, they cite the Women’s Sports Foundation, a group which advocates for all women sports, stating “any physical activity in which relative performance can be judged or qualified can be developed into a competitive sport,” and with the requirements of advanced skills such as stunting and tumbling, cheerleaders fit that description and have actual competitions where teams versus one another. 

Being a cheerleader is not a joke, despite the fact that people make it seem like it’s just a waste of time. Athletes get injured, beat themselves up around about the littlest things and work day in and day out on their talent. With all these characteristics stated of an athlete, I truly believe that Cheerleaders are athletes and it’s sport.