10 Reasons Why Cheerleading Is a Sport

Dan PopoloskiContributor IIIMay 16, 2011

10 Reasons Why Cheerleading Is a Sport

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    This has been a constant debate, whether cheerleading is a sport or not. There is very valid evidence for both sides of the argument.

    Cheerleaders are commonly seen on the sidelines at football and basketball games supporting their teams. Fans just see them as other people supporting their team.

    However, the cheerleaders have to go through rigorous training and practice all the time to perfect the routines displayed at games.

    Along with cheering on the sidelines at games, most cheerleading squads participate in heated competitions to show their athleticism.

    Although it is not officially defined as a sport by the NCAA or high school associations, it obviously should be for many different reasons.

1. Definition of a Sport

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  The Butler Bulldogs cheerleaders perform during a break in the game against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Dictionary.com defines a sport as "an athletic activity that requires physical prowess or skill and often a competitive nature."

    Cheerleading definitely fulfills this criteria maybe even better than other activities commonly called sports.

    So let's compare aspects of cheering and compare them to the definition that dictionary.com has provided us.

2. An Athletic Activity

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  A cheerleader from the Kentucky Wildcats performs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The first part of the definition was "an athletic activity requiring skill or prowess". I don't know how many of you had actually paid attention to the cheerleaders besides just looking at them based off their looks, but their formations, flips, tumbles and tosses are kind of difficult to pull off.

    I don't know if you and one of your friends have ever tried to chuck a hundred pound or more person in the air and catch him or her before, but it doesn't seem very easy to me.

    On to the next part, "requiring skill or prowess." The previous activity I just explained, I think that would take a little bit of skill and prowess, not just something you pick up your first time.

3. A Competitive Nature

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Cheerleaders from the Kentucky Wildcats performs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This is pretty straight forward. The basic purpose of a cheerleader is to either spur on competitiveness or to express it themselves.

    If you have ever seen a cheer competition, then you know how competitive these girls and sometimes guys can be. They get very into their routine and can get as into it as somebody could get into a football game.

    This however, may be a bad example of a sport because I know that people can get really into anything and be competitive over something that isn't a sport.

    However, it still supports the fact that cheerleading is indeed a sport.

4. Comparisons to Other "Sports"

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  The Richmond Spiders cheerleaders perform during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Kansas Jayhawks at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Marti
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Now that we're done picking apart the official definition of a sport, let's compare it to other things that are recognized as sports that are remarkably similar to cheerleading. The first of these sports is gymnastics.

    Gymnastics is such a popular sport that it is featured in the Olympics and is one of the most popular events. Gymnastics is both men and women trying to perform elaborate flips, tricks and other acrobatic feats while on mats, beams or trampolines.

    Cheerleaders may not use beams or trampolines, but they do do their performances on mats.

    Cheerleaders do, with or without the help of their teammates, flips and acrobatic feats to try to "wow" their judges or the crowd their performing for.

    In fact, a lot of cheerleaders take gymnastics to try to hone their tumbling, so they will be better come time for competition.

5: Comparisons (Cont)

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 26:  An Florida Gators cheerleader performs during their game against the Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Another sport that cheerleading is strikingly similar to, is dancing. Dancing is in the Olympics in different forms.

    Cheerleading and dancing are basically the same exact thing except that dancers don't do any flips. They may do jumps or things to that sort, but they never do the risky things that the cheerleaders do.

    Both cheerleaders and dancers normally do their routines in front of judges, have national championships, and commonly do their routines along with music.

    If dancing is a sport, and they do less than cheerleaders, than shouldn't cheerleading be a sport as well?

Closing Notes

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    There are many facts pointing to cheerleading being a sport. In fact, a lot of cheerleaders join other sports such as track, just to stay in shape for cheering.

    You have to be able to either lift and toss or be lifted and be tossed. The ones being tossed have to trust their lives with the people assigned to catch them. If they are misplaced, a neck could easily be snapped and a life could easily be lost.

    In fact, approximately 16,000 cheerleaders get injured in cheer related accidents, more than any other sport-like activity in the world.

    They get judged, they compete, they have to stay conditioned, what could possibly make them not a sport?

    Watch the above video and judge for yourself.