Is Cheer a Sport? Don’t get me started . . .

By Maggie Young

Sitting in yearbook class, I hear the editor ask whether or not cheerleading goes into the sport section or the organization section.  Obviously, it is a sport and as a cheerleader, I should know.

Once again, I am forced to justify to my peers that I am an athlete which then leads me to asking my advisor for this writing assignment.  Instead of getting angry, let me simply show you the evidence.

In a December 2016 article, Seventeen Magazine reported that the International Olympic Committee  voted to recognize cheerleading as a sport.

“The IOC’s recognition means that cheerleading’s governing body, the International Cheer Union, will receive at least $25,000 every year and have the opportunity to apply for additional grants. This period of recognition lasts for three years, and at any point during this time, IOC execs can vote to fully recognize the sport. At that point, the ICU can petition to be included in the Games.”

If cheer can be an Olympic event, it must be a sport right?

According to Varsity.com, The Women’s Sports Foundation has said a sport must have these  components:

“It must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass. Stunting… check! Competing against/with an opponent is required. Competition… check!  It must be governed by rules that explicitly define the time, space, and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared.”

Whether the topic of discussion is competitive cheer or sideline, both fall under the definition of a sport. In competitive cheer, depending on the skill level, you could travel across the world to compete. As for side line, you get to reach a different type of satisfaction being able to cheer on your team and entertain the crowd at the same time.

Just like all athletics, Cheerleaders commit their time into what they do. For example, Thurston cheerleaders practice throughout the summer and throughout the year to reach their desired performance. If the time schedule is not enough, we find ourselves consuming more unplanned hours of the day to accomplish our goal.

Senior football player Dorsey Woolridge said, “Our cheerleaders never go unnoticed, they get the crowd pumped which is what gets our adrenaline going.”

Whether it is coming up with a play or coming up with a halftime performance, both require creativity. We spent hours trying to find the right songs and choreography that correlate perfectly with each other. Trying to fix bodies to create the same appearance takes time and most importantly, patience. Although it can get overwhelming and stressful, at the end of the day we are able to come together like all teams and provide the support and encouragement needed to keep going.  

Most people are only able to judge what they see and are not able to realize what is behind the scenes. In the midst of our practices, we condition. We spend time to gain whatever strength we need to jump high and stunt to our full potential. Many just see us make the task look easy, but all in all, it was a building experience that came along with lots of nosebleeds, sprained ankles, and most importantly comebacks to get to where we are now.

So next time, I hear someone ask about cheerleading as a sport, I am just going to refer them to this article.  

Maggie Young, Varsity Cheerleader, drops the mic or shall I say pom pom?

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