By Rayan Tilmatine,
As cheerleading garners prevalence, the question is in more uncertainty: Should cheerleading be considered a sport? The argument has been a topic for a while, but there may be some interesting aspects of cheer that you may not know.
The definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”
Most people interpret the term “cheerleading” as the team sideline to the football games, not necessarily having any form of physical exertion. The side of cheer the majority of students do not witness is the competition aspect of cheer. Sideline cheer should not be considered a sport, but competitive cheer should be.
Davis High has two cheer teams, the sideline team and the competitive team. The sideline team is an opportunity to lead the crowd and to cheer on their team, most commonly seen at football games. The competitive team is a team made to compete at the national level. Teams are expected to pull off routines in front of judges and are ranked based off their stunts and tumbling abilities.
The competitive cheer team creates routines that consist of stunts, jumping, tumbling and dance. Practice consists of high intensity routines and harsh conditioning to prepare for these national competitions. Like other sports, the competitive cheer team watches film of their prior performances and opposing teams’ performances, looking for strategies to defeat them.
According to Med Page Today, cheerleading ranks as the number one sport that causes injuries to high school girls; most commonly on the wrists, shoulders, ankles, head and neck.
This could be due to the change of the way cheerleading has evolved to a more gymnastic combination of cheers and stunts that can be grueling to some.
Senior cheerleader Karlie Macalpin gives some insight on the dedication from the competitive cheer team.
“It takes skill and strength and the right mindset and tolerance to throw girls around, tumble and jump around,” Macalpin said.
Another aspect of cheer that goes unnoticed is the need of a strong physique. Even the most simple stunts require extraordinary balance and flexibility, meaning Cheerleaders have as strong of a core as other athletes.
Though cheerleaders may receive an unfair amount of criticism,they still are putting in the effort to better their craft and to perform well at competitions. They should be given the respect that other athletes are receiving, because they put in the same amount of work. I’m on your side girls.