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A Fan's Take: Cheerleading is Not a Sport

Cheerleading: sport or activity? The way I see it, any cheerleader will tell you it’s a sport and anyone that isn’t a cheerleader will tell you it’s an activity.

In my opinion, the definition of a sport relates to combing an athletic talent and some level of competition.  Cheering at a high school basketball game and staring down the opposing team’s cheerleading squad because they stole one of your cheers is not what I’m considering competition.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that some cheerleading squads require you to be athletic. If you tumble or stunt, kudos to you, you are a hard working athlete. If you simply scream and yell and fist pump, you are participating in an activity, not a sport.

I was a dancer growing up and I would get similar comments made to me all the time. However, I agreed with anyone that would comment on dancing not always being a sport. The only exception to the rule was our “competition” season in which we would travel and compete against other high school dance teams statewide.

Cheerleaders do the same. Some high school squads have separate seasons for this; some private cheerleading squads exist for the sole purpose of competing. The practices for these events are very grueling and difficult, and can be compared to any other sport that has a long practice in order to get ready for a game or meet.

If a squad does not compete, does not stunt or tumble, and simply screams and cheers, isn’t this comparable to a show choir (example: GLEE) rehearsing the different songs they will be singing and dancing to at their next performance? And since those types of show choirs compete against other show choirs around the area, would you also consider those participants athletes, and show choir a sport?

I don’t think so.

I am in no way downplaying the talent it takes to be a cheerleader. It takes the right voice, rhythm, control over movements and memory to learn the different cheers for defense, offense, etc.

I just don’t believe all cheerleaders are athletes and that all squads are worthy of being placed in the category as a sports team. Agree to disagree if you’d like.

Like I said, any cheerleader you ask will probably tell you it’s a sport, and anyone that doesn’t cheer will tell you it’s not. So I guess no one will ever be RAH RAH right!

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