How many times have you heard that cheerleading is not a sport? There are many people who believe that to be true and think it is simply make-up and sparkly cheerleading uniforms for girls that don’t want to participate in a sport.
Try saying that to a cheerleader directly and see what type of response you receive. Most people say that in order for cheerleading to be considered a sport it has to be more athletic and since most do not consider cheerleading very athletic then it cannot be considered a sport. There really isn’t a true definition of what makes a sport a sport. However, the Women’s Sports Foundation has put together a list of what most have agreed upon makes something a sport. Here is the list:
• It must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass.
• “Contesting” or competing against/with an opponent is required
• It must be governed by rules that explicitly define the time, space, and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared
• Acknowledgement that the primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants.
So let’s take the first bullet point. Don’t cheerleaders perform many stunts such as high flying basket tosses (which is basically when they are tossed in the air and then caught), and jumping down from being on top of a human made pyramid? I guess we can check the first bullet point off as one and done.
Secondly, contesting or competing against an opponent. There are two types of cheerleading. There is cheerleading for a school ball game and then there is competitive cheerleading. Competitive cheerleading takes a lot of hard work and dedication. When you are in competitive cheer you are required to put in a lot of time and hard work. Sounds like a sport to me.
Thirdly, it must be governed by rules. There are probably more rules for cheerleading than some other sports. After looking up cheer safety rules under the AACCA there were so many rules listed that there would be no way to even put them in this blog because it would take up nine pages. And that is just for safety rules for schools. There are even more rules for cheer competitions for both school cheer and competitive cheer. So that can be checked as done as well.
In addressing the last bullet point, those cheer competitions that are aired on ESPN? Those are for national championships. Guess we can check the last one as meeting the qualification of what people have deemed as needing in order to be a sport.
So the next time you are thinking there is no way cheerleading can be considered a sport as a cheerleader if you can shadow them for a week and do everything they do. Go to all their practices, perform all the stunts they do and if you follow a high school cheerleader go to all the games and do ever thing they do. Then , after you are done shadowing them cheering for games shadow them as they prepare for competition. If that isn’t enough for you then ask to shadow a cheerleader who is in competitive cheer and then let’s see if you still feel that cheerleading is not a sport.