What’s Makes Cheerleading Any Different?

by Kaylee Cisna, Staff Writer

Cheerleaders may wear short skirts and yell cheers to the stands of crowds there for the night to support their school’s big playoffs game or sidelines at basketball games cheering on the players, but that doesn’t change what cheerleading has developed to in today’s society. But there are many people out there that aren’t acknowledging the very difficult and dangerous side of cheerleading, including the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).

Cheerleading is a sport. Wearing skirts and looking pretty for an audience does not mean that they don’t participate in highly active physical activity.

The definition of sport is: “physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.” Cheerleading is physical activity that takes a certain amount of strength, endurance, and skill to participate in the first place. It is also governed by a set of rules that a committee called the USASF (United States All Star Federation) creates determining what the guidelines and limits are. This helps a team or certain individual from being disqualified and in order to be disqualified, they have to be engaged in some form of competition. Therefore, cheerleading is the definition of a sport.

Cheerleading has always been viewed as girls with pom poms and bows, out to cheer and yell chants to the crowd to get them hyped up for their school games. But as time has gone by, cheerleading has become more extreme. There is hard work and long hours of practice that are put behind a two minute and thirty second routine which includes stunts, jumps, tumbling, pyramids, and dance. These five elements take strength, flexibility, power, precision, and sharpness. It is not as easy as it looks.

Cheerleading actually causes more injuries than any other female sport. With concussions, sprains, broken bones and several fatal accidents, it is only fair that cheerleading be considered a sport. Cheerleading accounts for 66% of all catastrophic injuries in high school cheerleading over the past 25 years. That’s only high school cheerleading, and that’s not including All-star cheerleading with has more complex stunts and tumbling. The danger is similar to that of football, basketball, and other contact activities that have always been considered sports.

Overall, cheerleading is just like any other female sport, competing competitively with rules the only difference being that cheerleading has a memorized routine, and not a game plan. It is judged by certified judges, not refs and it is a two and a half minute routine, not a four hour game. Cheerleading in a lot of aspects is much like dance, and if dance is considered a sport, why isn’t cheerleading?