Is Cheer a Sport?


K. Smith

Hitting a lib in an extension, cheerleader Jesse Crossland uses strength and balance while being in the air on one foot. This is one of many stunts that cheerleaders do.

Grayson McClendon, Staff Reporter

Whether cheerleading is a sport or not has been an ongoing debate since it started in 1898. For anyone who thinks that cheerleaders are all tall blondes who only stand next to the football field and yell chants, you obviously do not see the whole picture. Cheerleaders go through exhausting practices everyday by throwing 120 pound girls in the air and doing strenuous tumbling passes. So for the 63% of Millbrook students who thinks that cheerleading is not a sport: listen up.

Cheerleaders are no longer pep squads who only cheer on other sports teams. They are now the competitors. Most people think competitive cheer is just a bunch of jumping and dancing, but this is false. Competitive cheerleaders stunt and tumble, which are the two elements that cause the most injuries. A cheerleading routine consists of all these elements for three minutes. Cheerleaders perform in front of a panel of judges and they give them scores based on the difficulty of their stunts and tumbling passes, and take points off if something wobbles or falls. For instance, the base, the girls underneath the stunt, are at risk of being hit by their flyer, or by each other if something does not go right. Flyers are at risk of being dropped if their bases are not there to catch him or her. Any position a cheerleader is at, the risk of being hurt is very common. If they get hit in the middle of a routine, they have to keep going; they do not get to walk off the floor with their coach by their side, which is what makes cheerleaders so strong. Even football player Bryan Squires said, “I believe cheerleaders work just as hard as any sport. Constantly lifting others, running, and flipping. It is truly a team sport because if one person doesn’t do their part the whole stunt can fall.”

Another reason that cheerleading should be considered a sport is the time and money committed. Sarah Tate Durling, former student at Millbrook, moved to Florida this past year to be on a competitive cheerleading team, Top Gun Large Coed. On average, she spends 22 hours a week at the gym practicing, only has one week off during the season, and is required to pay over 10,000 dollars a year to be on her team. With practice on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, she also takes the time to go to two hour technique classes twice a week to improve even more. Sarah Tate is also going to school online because of the amount of time she dedicated to her team. Just this is convincing enough to say that cheerleading is a sport.

Injuries, time commitment, and money are not the only elements that support that cheer is a sport. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. That definition alone describes cheerleading exactly! If you just finished reading and are still stuck on the idea that cheerleaders only do cheers and sit on the bleachers, come find me, and I will spit some knowledge at you!