Cheerleading a sport?

Dakota Ratley

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I’m willing to bet that somewhere in America at this moment there is an argument between a cheerleader and another person over whether cheerleading is a sport. So who’s right?

Well, both.

For the longest time I was one of those who completely denied cheerleading was a sport. I couldn’t understand how something that was done to complement other sports could be considered a sport by itself. Maybe it was just my pre-pubescent, girls-can’t-do-anything mind.

My opinion was quickly changed one day while I was watching ESPN.

At first I was shocked. Cheerleading? Invading my sacred channel? No, this isn’t right. Something has gone wrong. Then I actually watched it.

Have you ever seriously watched competitive cheerleading? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it. It is seriously amazing. I know even in my days of being a one-sport bench rider I couldn’t do the kind of stuff those young ladies and men do.

I’m not going to spend the rest of this article pretending I know anything about the sport because I don’t. I just know that people flip and lift each other up while yelling at the top of their lungs.

They also manage to remain smiling this whole time. Most of competitive cheerleading is done in college. If you can have a college student smiling for more than a minute straight you probably have
a good thing.

Before you disagree, let me remind you that we live in a culture in which some consider poker a sport. I love poker. It’s not a sport. Some consider bowling a sport. Bowling is lame. At least competitive cheerleading is worth actually watching on television.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not flipping my television from the football game to watch some girls do flips and yell loudly. However, maybe it deserves a little bit more respect than what it gets. I mean, the things they are able to do are not accomplishable by the human body.

Even the American Medical Association has said that cheerleading should be considered a sport. A speaker at the debate for AMC said that cheerleading is the leading cause of catastrophic injury in high school and college for females.

That alone should say enough. If a medical association is saying it should be a sport, then the rest of the public should follow.

I do remain firm, however, on sideline cheerleading. Unless you are doing flips and standing on top of one another, it’s not a sport.

When cheerleaders are just on the sideline, it’s not really a sport. The competitions, on the other hand, are kind of like gymnastics. They perform routines and are scored by a panel of judges. That’s the end of the argument. Competetive cheerleading is a sport
Whether my pre-pubescent self likes it or not.