OPINION: Three Things Everyone Should Know About Cheerleading

Miranda Lentz, Reporter


Over the years, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding the question – “Is cheerleading a sport?”. The reporter is a member of the competition squad and weighs in on this topic.

1.According to the United States Sports Academy; “Cheerleading is the number one female sport and number two in catastrophic injuries when compared to all sports – only American football ranks higher.”                      

Yes, a federal judge in 2012 ruled that cheerleading is not an official sport, but that doesn’t stop any cheerleader from trying to prove that what they do is more than jump around on the sidelines. In my experience, being on the sidelines is actually one of the best parts of being a cheerleader. We do our best to support both the football and basketball teams, although competition practices sometimes can affect our game attendance. What many people don’t know about cheerleading is that we have our own competition season.

During this season, the competition team practices three to four days a week for two to three hours, depending on the day. Our practices are rough, running a full two minute and thirty second routine over and over until it is perfect. These practices take a great deal of endurance and commitment. In competition, a squad gets only one shot to do a routine and win. It may not be considered an official sport by a federal judge, but cheerleaders work as hard as any other athlete

2. All cheerleaders are not six feet tall, beach blonde, tan, popular mean girls. I am sure that there are some cheerleaders somewhere that fit any part of that description, but not all cheerleaders do. We don’t walk around in our skirts and tops with our pom poms hanging out of our designer purse as seen in Hollywood movies. We wear our uniform tops to school on game days to show our support for the football or basketball team. The uniforms are form-fitting for competition and can be uncomfortable and slightly itchy. Many cheerleaders have substance and intelligence. Our senior captain Alversia Wade  won the $20,000 Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship award.

3. Speaking of mean girls, most cheerleaders care about other things than cheerleading. Our cheer team does all we can to support our town and surrounding areas. For example, our team helps support Madeline Guarraia, a local girl battling cancer. Our team does what it can to help out Madeline and her family. We have sold signs at football games to raise money, posted team pictures and sent videos to her to show her our support love, we have also sent her cheerleading bows and headbands in her favorite colors to keep her spirits up. Last yea,r there was a little girl in our town named Alicia, who unfortunately had cancer as well.  We took action to make her Christmas a little better by sending her all of our presents that we received from our annual team Yankee Swap. Our team continues to do all it  can to support our community, on and off the mats.

No matter what people believe, being a cheerleader is not easy. It takes a great deal of hard work and commitment. Each cheerleader is unique in their own way, male or female. We will continue to work our hardest to break stereotypes and, most of all, become an official sport. Until then, we will continue to push our limits, defy gravity, and show our support for anyone who needs it.