Is Cheerleading a Sport?
The first intercollegiate American Football game was played between Princeton university and Rutgers University in 1869, and cheerleading began in the 1880s with Princeton's all-male pep club. In 1923, women were allowed to become cheerleaders at the University of Minnesota, and during the 1920s, cheerleaders added acrobatics to the cheers (Being a Cheerleader). The first Cheerleading National Championship was held in 1982, hosted by the Universal Cheerleaders Association, and since then there have been many cheerleading competitions and events worldwide (History of Cheerleading). Cheerleading takes physical strength, coordination, and teamwork, and in 2009, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that it is legally classified as a contact sport (ESPN). Yet, despite these things, many people do not consider it to be a sport. They give many reasons it is not a sport, but despite these claims, cheerleading takes a lot of hard work, and should be considered a sport.
One reason people claim that cheerleading is not a sport is that sports require competition, and cheerleading is merely a means of rallying excitement at sporting events, and therefore is not a sport itself. However, in addition to performing at sporting events, many cheerleaders and cheer squads also compete in cheerleading competitions across the globe. In a cheerleading competition, cheer squads perform routines to music, and are judged based on what stunts the squad performs and how well they are executed. There are slightly different rules and regulations for each competition based on rank and division, but they all have rules about uniforms, time limits, music choice, performance area, qualifications, and spotters (Universal Cheerleaders Association). Because of these competitions, cheerleading is not only a performance at other sporting events or a means of rallying excitement from the crowd, but is itself a sport.
Another reason people claim that cheerleading is not a sport is because it does not require strategy because the goal is simply to make the judged like the routine you perform. Cheerleading competitions still have an element of strategy. You must know what stunts the other squads are capable of, which stunts they are likely to perform, and which stunts the judges will score higher that those the other squads are performing. A cheer squad can not simply use the same routine in every competition. “A routine should be a constant work in progress—skills should be added and the level of difficulty of the routine should increase over time. A team should be trained so that they readily accept and welcome changes” (Cheer Coach Magazine). A cheer squad's routine needs to be constantly changing, and strategy is a necessary aspect in order to know what to change, remove, or add to win competitions.
There are also some people who claim that cheerleading is not a sport because it does not require much physical activity or physical skill. However,...