Competitive cheerleading is more than pretty girls jumping up and down in short skirts cheering for the home team. It takes balance, coordination, skill, athleticism, and flexibility to become a professional cheerleader.
The word sport is defined as a physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. The Department of Education Federal Title IX standards for sports include the requirement of coaches, competitions, recruitment, uniforms, length of seasons, and practices.
Now consider these facts about cheerleading:
â€¢ Cheerleaders are required to have the poise of a dancer, flexibility of a gymnast, strength of a football player, and endurance of a runner. They train a minimum of twice a week for more than 4 hours learning cheers and routines prior to weekly sporting events and are required to wear official uniforms.
â€¢ Competitive cheerleaders compete in local and national competitions. Cheer competitions are extreme and demanding requiring hours of intense training including jumps, pyramid building, tumbling, stunts, and routines. These training sessions are in addition to regular non-competitive practice sessions.
â€¢ People consider a cheerleaders main purpose as someone that supports other sports. Since their â€œactivityâ€ does not include a ball, they are not considered a sport. Yet, highly recognized sports such as diving, wrestling, ice-skating, gymnastics, and boxing also do not include the use of a ball.
â€¢ Just as football has rules and regulations for competitive play, competitive cheerleading has standard timelines for routines and award penalties for going out of bound. Points are awarded for difficulty, creativity, technique, and sharpness.
â€¢ Cheerleading tournaments are broadcast live on sport channels such as ESPN and have commentators like most other sports discussing the finer points of the competition.
If you actually take the time to examine the roll of a cheerleader and the physical requirements, you too might agree that it much more than an activity and should be considered a sport.