By: Mylie Miller, ’19
By definition, a sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. According to the legitimacy of this definition, cheerleading is a sport, despite many opposing opinions. Cheer has been questioned by experts and coaches over the years on whether or not it belongs as an activity or a sport. I am here to show you it is indeed a sport.
For quite some time, cheer has been viewed as feminine, weak minded, and all about pom-poms and skirts. From long sleeve sweaters and skirts that went to one’s ankles to cropped uniform tops and short skirts. The style and look of cheerleading has changed, and so should its proclaimed stereotype.
The cheer world has definitely evolved since its creation in the late 1800s. Cheer has been primarily viewed as an activity only for girls, but this is no longer the case. Now it is socially acceptable to have male cheerleaders, at least in the cheer world it is. And let me tell you, they make stunts look even more impressive than before.
In an article by ESPN, Mollie Vehling, UCLA spirit squad advisor (also a fancy name for a cheerleading coach) makes a daring statement to the interviewer and viewers after discussing the stigma of cheerleaders.
“Try it for one day. Honestly. There’s no way,” said Vehling. “You can’t just go out there and act stupid. It’s a dangerous activity. And there’s absolutely no way that if you did it for one day you wouldn’t come back saying it’s a sport.”
Nowadays, it takes more than simply being a cheerleader, but a successful one. It involves more practice within a team, individually, and greater team effort as a whole. Compared to what we see in the movie Grease, for example, where cheerleaders are chosen based off looks and popularity. Cheerleading also includes being a true leader and setting an example in both the community and in school, especially in high school and college. Cheerleaders are athletes who represent leaders in the community and participate in activities to promote organizations.
If cheer was officially deemed a sport it would have a more strict set of rules and better training for coaching. From more intense regulations and better equipped coaches, less injuries would happen and would make these athletes seen in a more professional manner.
And yet, cheerleading is still not considered a sport. Although it does have some benefits being considered an activity. Advantages such as having lower regulations and fewer rules to follow. If it was ruled a sport, a drawback would be the possibility of participating at fewer games during the school year because of regulating the amount of playing time.
Right now cheer may not be a sport, but cheerleaders are considered athletes. Cheer is a sport because of the countless hours of practice. Countless hours of conditioning. Countless hours of coach telling the team to do the routine “one more time” but realistically you end up doing it three more times full out. Cheerleading has its own unique flare of expression, determination, and passion. For these reasons, it is, and always will be, a sport.