Many consider cheerleading not a sport, but the New York Times states, one of the quickest growing sports for girls in our country today is cheerleading. Additionally, the New York Times doesn’t differentiate between sideline and competition cheerleaders. Sideline cheerleaders are on the sideline cheering on the football team and getting the crowd pumped for the football game. A competition cheerleader competes against other schools or teams in competitions that last two minutes and thirty seconds which consist of stunting, tumbling, dancing and jumps.
Cheerleading is a sport because it is made up of teamwork, vigorous practices, it’s very dangerous, and it has rules and guidelines like any other sport in today’s society. Teamwork is the most important aspect in cheerleading. “Teamwork is not only crucial for executing the pyramid or stunt, but also to prevent injuries. Additionally, judges look at a squad’s ability to function and perform as a team demonstrated by synchronization and execution of stunts” (Allen). Teamwork is defined as everyone working together to achieve a common goal.
The main goal for a cheerleading competition is to get first place, but that doesn’t always happen. To achieve this goal, everyone has to be ready to go and work together, but also communicate as a team. A competitive cheerleaders’ goal is to do all they can to win the competition overall. Cheerleading is a sport that involving people working together as a team, but without cooperation, synchronization, and communication, first place is not attainable. To be a cheerleader, you have to go to practice just like any other athlete. Cheerleaders have vigorous practices just like football.
Competitive cheerleading is a sport that includes strength. For a person to be a cheerleader, you must be in shape and flexible because in a cheerleading routine you need to be able to tumble, stunt, jump, and dance without stopping for the entire two minutes and thirty seconds. Cheerleaders must learn to tumble, just like gymnasts. The only way cheerleaders will learn to tumble is if they attend practice and work hard without ever giving up. A cheerleading practice consists of conditioning, going over the routine full out over 50 times, jumping, tumbling, stunting, dancing your heart out, and even more conditioning.
Cheerleaders perform stunts that require strength. In a stunt, flyers are tossed in the air, by their two bases and back spots in different stunts that require strength, teamwork, communication, and cooperation. To be able to perform the very challenging stunts, cheerleaders need to condition and workout like any other sport that competes. Cheerleading is considered the number one dangerous sport for girls in todays country. Sports injuries for cheerleading appear in the ER more than five times the number of any other sport.
According to LiveScience staff, cheerleading injuries account for more than 67 percent of sports injuries (LiveScience). While watching a routine, you will see that most cheerleaders will have on an ankle brace, a knee brace, or a wrist brace. They wear braces because cheerleaders easily get hurt and they have to wear a brace to be able to cheer and not reinjure themselves. In most cases, the cheerleaders will continue to wear the brace after their injury is healed because they don’t want to hurt their previous injury. The most common injuries are ankle sprains.
Cheerleaders may need surgery for some of their injuries because in most cases a cheerleader could of torn their MCL or ACL. That means the cheerleader could be out for months. In worst cases of injuries, their have been cheerleaders that have broken their necks in stunts, like pyramids or basket tosses. There have been cases in which cheerleaders have died because they have fallen out of a stunt and onto their head causing brain damage. Many consider cheerleading not a sport because they don’t use balls, but that’s not true. Cheerleading has rule and guidelines just like any other sport in the world.
The rules and regulations in cheerleading are very strict. Some rules in cheerleading are routines must not exceed 2 minutes and 30 seconds. A cheerleading routine must be performed on mats or spring flooring. In addition, each athlete must wear his or her uniform and jewelry is prohibited. If a judge catches jewelry on a cheerleader, they will deduct points for appearance. If a bobby pin or clip hits the floor, the team gets points deducted. Props such as flags, banners and pom pons are allowed. Also judges are the ones who judge the routines. The judges are like the referees in a football or basketball game.
The judges will judge a routine on motions, dance, tumbling, jumps, facial expressions, and their overall performance. Many Americans think that cheerleading not a sport, but by the definition of a sport, cheerleading is considered a sport. “A sport, according to the Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors, is a physical activity or competition that competes against or with an opponent, governed by rules and regulations under which a winner is declared, and primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants” (Renee).
Many say that competition cheerleading is a sport, but not sideline. In my opinion, any type of cheerleading is a sport because there is a chance that at games, an injury may occur. Sideline cheerleading is considered a sport, just like competition cheerleading, because most high schools use their sideline team as their competition team. Also at games the sideline/competition team will perform very risky and complicated stunts that people might get seriously injured.
Courtney from Study Moose
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