Is Cheerleading a Sport?

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Cheer and whether it is considered a sport is a very controversial argument that has carried on for many years. There are many pros and cons to this question: Is cheer or cheerleading a sport or not? Sports have been around for many years. Families stop their day and schedules just to watch their favorite teams play whether they win or lose.

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Is cheerleading something that can inspire that kind of devotion? Perhaps, in time, it can. This answer often depends on if you are male or female. Most males think that cheerleading is not a sport and most females believe otherwise. With these differing of opinions between both genders, we will never find an answer unless we think about this question a little differently. If we think about defining what a sport is and how cheerleading can become a sport, then we might be able to stop fighting about this heated topic.

A compelling argument in favor of cheer as a sport is made in “Is Cheerleading a Sport? Reasons and Arguments” by Usman Maqsood. The author argues that cheerleading should be considered a sport. Cheerleaders, just like athletes, require a lot of training and hard work. It is similar to other sports in how there is one goal, to win. Just like football, there are teams competing against each other for a goal and to reach that goal it takes practice. Cheerleaders practice and train harder and more often when compared to other sports. Cheer requires precision and exact execution to make the routine perfect. One minor mistake can ruin the teams’ chance to win, just like any other sport.

Cheer isn’t considered a sport because it is more feminine, but originally it was an all-male activity. Cheer started with college teams. It became professional in 1950. Cheerleaders began to work increasingly hard and doing new tricks, like stunting, which require a lot of physical strength and focus. Adding tricks made cheerleading competitive, therefore making it a sport. The IOC or the International Olympic Committee has stated that in the future cheerleading will become an Olympic sport. Even though it isn’t in the Olympics yet, the IOC executive board has already voted that cheerleading would be a sport. In as soon as three years, cheerleading could be approved by the ICU to officially be entered in the Olympics.

Cheerleading is a sport because along with many sports it is difficult and sometimes very dangerous. It requires a great deal of physical activity. Cheerleaders must be able to do gymnastics, which is an Olympic sport. They also do synchronized dancing and lift other girls into to air while doing cool tricks without dropping her. Serious injuries can occur with any small mistakes, and cheerleaders get no protection. Cheer has more injuries than football and in 2011 had around 37,000 cheerleaders went to the emergency room. This shows how executing a perfect routine requires immense amounts of energy. Cheer requires the same rules and regulations as another physical sports.

Maqsood argues that the reason cheer isn’t considered a sport is because it began as a means just to cheer on other teams. In time, cheer has evolved to become competitive and it requires the same amount of physical and mental activity as any other sport.

On the flip side, in the article “Why Is Cheerleading Not a Sport?” by Jennifer Betts it says that cheerleading is currently not a sport. Betts states that for an activity to be a sport it needs to have physical activity or skill, it needs to have competitions, and must have some strategy to it. Cheerleading has physical activity in it but doesn’t require much skill. This is because most people can yell at a crowd and learn basic moves in a routine. Skill comes into play when cheerleaders do complicated dancing, tumbling, and stunting. However, not all cheerleading squads do complicated routines. Betts says that cheerleading has some competitions, but not all cheerleaders compete. In fact, Betts states that most cheerleaders don’t compete. Only about 15% of cheerleaders compete. Cheerleading also needs to have strategy. Betts states that cheerleaders may be on a squad that competes, but they don’t have use strategy to during the competition. The goal to winning in cheerleading competitions is to receive a better score than the other squads and to receive the highest score. The judges score routines based on set standards. There is no strategy to the so-called sport except to have a better routine than another squad. Strategy means that during competition cheerleaders could and would change their routine, but this does not happen. The routines are memorized and not changed mid competition to strategically try to win. Based on these facts we have learned that right now cheerleading is not a sport. However, cheerleading can become a sport over time if more cheer squads become competitive.

A major point in favor of cheerleaders is found in the article “Cheer Debate: Is Cheerleading a Sport?” by Varsity Spirit. The article states that most people would say that cheer or cheerleading is not a sport. However, people would have to agree that cheer is indeed a sport based on the definition of the word sport. The definition of the word sport is: it must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass. Cheerleading has a lot of stunts, which is propelling a person, something with mass, through the air. Another definition states that sports must be a competition, and cheerleaders do go to competitions. Cheer squads compete against other schools, or teams with a scoring chart, to determining a winner. Cheerleading also has a time limit just like football, basketball, and most other sports. Cheer compares to more traditional sports, like football, where you must have a certain space to perform the sport because cheer has a specific cheer mat which they must stay on. Therefore, cheerleading has made the requirement and is a sport.

Cheerleading may not be considered a sport by everyone, but that will more than likely change in the near future. A major shift in opinion will occur when cheer is put in the Olympics. People will have to change their point of views because the Olympic Committee will recognize cheer as a sport. This is important because it changes how cheerleading is viewed by people around the world not just here in the USA. It also changes the gender influence on cheer, making it more acceptable for both genders to participate in and recognize cheerleading as a sport. Recognition from the Olympic committee will influence more people to acknowledge cheerleading as a sport instead of fighting against it. This will end the great debate about whether cheer is a sport or not and give cheerleading it’s place in the sporting world.

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