Cheerleading Is Much More Than Pom Poms and Bows

Cheerleading is viewed by people as a bunch of girls with pom poms, bows and skirts, who stand on the sideline and yell. But it is much more than that.

There are two different types of cheerleading, one being sideline where you yell chants at games like football, basketball or hockey. The other type of cheer is competitive where you do different types of jumps; stunt, which is lifting girls above your head; and tumble.

In my opinion, sideline cheer is not a sport but competitive cheerleading is.

Since I was four years old, I’ve done competitive cheer. This sport is a combination of gymnastics, acrobatics, and dance.

You lift people into the air which is called stunting. You also tumble, jump and dance, all in a two-and-a-half minute routine with no flaws.

You can get multiple injuries in this sport, and you train year round to go to nationals and compete against teams across the world.

As a hobby, I also do sideline cheer for Dimond High School. I get multiple comments when I say I am a cheerleader, that cheer isn’t a sport. I explain that sideline and competitive cheer are very different.

I agree that sideline is not a sport, but I strongly disagree when people think that competitive cheer is not a sport.

Most of the time, the people I speak to do not know what competitive cheer is. Even after explaining, they still try to hold their opinion that all cheer isn’t a sport. People try to compare cheer to football or basketball, claiming that cheer is not a sport because we don’t get injuries like other sports or how there’s no specific strategy to it.

Taylor Berkbigler, has done competitive cheer for nine years.

“I have had a multitude of injuries including broken bones, strained and pulled muscles and ligaments, and I have shoulder and back issues,” she said. “Cheer takes not only physical but also mental strength. We have to hold up and throw girls by their ankles, and we basically defy gravity with all of the different tumbling passes we do”

Abby Owen, has done competitive cheer for eight years.

“I broke my hand twice, and I have broken two fingers,” Owen said. “I think I can speak for us all that we have gotten hit in the face multiple times.”

Kaitlyn Otis a senior at Dimond, has done competitive and sideline cheer for four years.

¨I have broken my nose, clavicle, sprained my ankles multiple times, and tore my meniscus.¨ Otis said.

“We also train and condition just as much as any other athletes. A part of our training is to make the difficult skills we do look effortless and  easy. Cheer is a performance sport, and people usually don’t comprehend that until they watch everything we do behind the scenes.”

Ashley Maxwell has never done cheer before, but she believes that competitive cheer is not a sport.

She claims that “cheer isn’t a sport because it has no defined strategy.

“Cheer also isn’t in the Olympics and it doesn’t have a professional team” she said.

While what she said about there not being an Olympic and professional team is true, gymnastics, which is a sport, doesn’t have a professional team. Football, which is a sport, is not in the Olympics.

You could also argue that there is a strategy to win. You train year round to make the most difficult skills look easy. You work hard to perfect them, so you can be better than the other teams you compete against.

That’s another reason why in my opinion cheerleading is a sport. If you compete against another team, it is a sport.

I believe that people consider cheer not a sport because it’s mainly viewed as a female sport, and they think women are less capable.

Truthfully, that’s just not the case, and cheer is one of the hardest and most dangerous sports that exist.