Hopefully, cheerleading will become as well-known a sport as football and basketball, and even appear in the Olympics since cheerleaders are just as athletic and physically fit as those involved in the more accepted sports. The fact that cheerleading’s primary purpose is to give support to the college or high school athletes it gives competition the second position. Once exclusively a sideline activity geared toward supporting school sports, cheerleading has gained recognition as a sport in its own right and often operates outside the school context altogether. However, having been an all-star cheerleader for five years now, I have grown to respect and love the sport. Today, competitive cheerleading is one of the fastest-growing activities in the country. Being an all-star cheerleader, nothing is more infuriating to me than being told that it is not a sport. Many squads still primarily exist to support other sports … That putting off ACL surgery so she could help her UCLA team finish third at the United Spirit Association's Collegiate Nationals two weeks ago was meaningless. Not only is cheerleading considered to be one of the hardest sports, but a recent study in the "Journal of Pediatrics" found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females due to the high risk of severe injuries including concussions, broken bones, permanent disabilities and paralyzation, and injuries causing a shorter lifespan. There are no scholarships. No one is filling up stadiums to watch cheerleading. According to the United States Sports Academy, cheerleading is number one in female sports injuries and number two in catastrophic injuries when compared to all sports. So the next time someone decides to say cheerleading isn’t a sport, they should give it a try. It just doesn't fit the definition of a sport. All of these sports, cheerleading included, require the athletes to be in shape, precise, talented and well-rehearsed. Cheerleading camps have become big business in recent years. Honestly. It requires just as much as other sports and deserves the recognition. You can't just go out there and act stupid. They don't make the crowd nervous anymore, but you just can't do the same program. It receives the same benefits that are afforded to any other student-athlete, including scholarships, academic advisors, strength coaches, on-site trainers, locker rooms and media training. The Cowboys' cheerleaders have become as recognizable as the team's players on the field. These girls are supposed to look hot, at least they usually tend to. Getting thrown into the air and flipping all over the place for that amount of time requires persistence and agility. "That shocks me. Tell her that the last year she spent downing Advil and bathing her knee in ice has been a waste. Today, Samantha Dubreuil, a sophomore cheerleader at East Lyme (Conn.), explains why cheerleading is a sport. "There are so many resources that could be available -- preventative care, having regular access to a student trainer. And we don't meet that definition," Dieta said. How this all plays out is anyone's guess. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not recognize cheerleading as a sport. Some sports fans say cheerleaders are competitive athletes, but critics argue cheering only hypes up sporting events (or in other words, it's not a real sport). They're trying things in the pee-wee and mini divisions that we did in high school. It's been debated for years! "I respect that they are athletic. No on-site trainer. NHSCC is the most prestigious cheerleading championship in the country and nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN2 to over 100 million homes and 32 countries … There are different factors that balance out both of the sides, like the history of cheerleading. The athletic things cheerleaders do are incredible, but it doesn't constitute being classified as a sport. There are national and worldwide competitions where cheerleading teams from all over come to ultimately “win.” Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) televises The Cheerleading Worlds hosted by the United States All Star Federation (USASF) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida each year dating back to 2004. This point is the real bone of contention when it comes to questions about cheerleading as a sport. Most definitions of "sport" include a focus on competition. It requires just as much as other sports and deserves the recognition. But cheerleading is not a sport. "Exercise, ice and a lot of Advil. The kids are athletic. Twenty-two different states high school governing bodies recognize cheerleading as a varsity sport. Better than I ever expected," said Fleece, who sits in athletic department meetings alongside Gary Williams and Ralph Friedgen and even has her own recruiting budget. They will be proven wrong, just like I was. In other words, cheerleading is more than a sport. While there are schools like Kentucky, a 13-time national champion, offering scholarships and other benefits that most student-athletes receive, there are schools like UCLA, where cheerleading is classified as a school club considered closer to Bruins for Jesus than the Bruins' basketball team. Competition comes second! "A sport exists primarily for the sole purpose of competing. In 2011, USA Cheer , the national governing body for sport cheering in the United States, launched the sport of STUNT to create new opportunities for female athletes at the collegiate and high school levels while allowing traditional cheerleading to remain a vital and important part of a school’s spirit program. But, because cheerleading’s primary purpose is to support high school and college athletic teams. you have to be flexible and I am not. Head coach Lura Fleece said she answers 50 to 60 e-mails a week from high school cheerleaders inquiring about the Maryland program. They will be proven wrong, just like I was. What cheerleaders do is support a team that competes in a sport. "They tell you it's not about looks, but what they're really doing is showing off their bodies, showing off their underwear and shaking their breasts around. The move is one that drew praise from some, but criticism from others. "It was the most awful thing I have ever heard and seen. The majority of cheerleading squads do not participate in any competitions. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, her ears started to bleed. This means that cheerleading is more than just a sport. In July, the University of Maryland became the first Division I-A school to recognize competitive cheerleading as a varsity sport and count it toward the its Title IX requirements. "Needless to say, the school suddenly found the $5,000 to get us some mats.". Not even early registration to schedule classes around practices. To gain more support that cheerleading is a sport, the USA cheer, in 2011, launched a sport called STUNT. "Maybe it won't be that bad.". Just because there isn’t a ball involved does not mean it’s not a sport. Whether it is basketball, football or another sport, the sport itself is the main attraction—not the cheerleading. We're more ambassadors for the school.". HARTFORD, Conn. -- A federal appeals court has ruled that colleges cannot count competitive cheerleading as a sport when trying to comply with gender-equity requirements, upholding a … In competitive cheerleading, squads compete against each other in a head-to-head fashion and are evaluated according to a standardized set of rules. Complex maneuvers are performed which challenge the limits of the body. But the yearly competitions, they'll say, are as challenging as any other sport they've played. Muay Thai was also granted provisional recognition along with cheerleading this year, and three new sports were added for the 2020 Summer Olympics: skateboarding, surfing and sport … Then there's former Stanford and professional basketball player Mariah Burton Nelson, a nationall renown professional speaker on women's sports issues. Just because it makes sense.". Period. But why Cheerleading is not a Sport. Sports fans come out in droves to watch actual sports. The argument whether cheerleading should be granted sport status is one that has escalated into a fierce debate over the past year. I realize it requires strength, stamina and balance," said Nelson, an author of five books, including "We're All Athletes." Well, presently no. They say that national cheerleading competitions, in which teams choreograph high-risk routines for high-pressure performances that are measured against those from other schools, aren't enough to make it a sport. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated. Instead, just tell Bangaoil what you really think -- that she's not an athlete. So do cheerleaders deserve the same respect as those athletes on the football field and basketball courts? If cheer was considered a sport, then more money from high school and college sports funds can help to make these teams more beneficial to the school. A little less than two weeks from now, doctors will wheel Eileen Bangaoil into an operating room, surgically insert a cadaver's ligament into her left knee and rebuild her ACL. Cheerleading involves skills which require the strength of football, the grace of dance, and the agility of gymnastics. Before Orangemen gave fans something to cheer about in the NCAA Tournament tiele game a year ago, the cheerleaders were the main attraction. Most cheerleaders need jobs to support themselves, a rules violation for athletes of NCAA-sanctioned sports. Before you determine whether cheerleading is a sport or not find a local cheerleading competition or look out for the next ESPN broadcast of the … It's a dangerous activity. It's getting more and more creative. As for Bangaoil, she has three months of gruesome rehabilitation in front of her before her knee will even be functional after surgery. The question of if cheerleading is a sport or not cannot be answered with one word. I was even one of those individuals who thought cheerleading was all about “spirit fingers.” I was wrong. 9:26 am I personally don’t like cheerleading because I just never have. Cheerleading requires a lot of skill and physical exertion, which therefore qualifies it to be a sport, just like many others. She'll barely be ready for the fall football season and even then, far from 100 percent. Some are a strong yes, some are a strong no, but a few fall somewhere in the middle, like cheerleading. "Standing back-tucks, stunting. In July, the University of Maryland became the first Division I-A school to recognize competitive cheerleading as a varsity sport and count it toward the its Title IX requirements. Cheerleading is most often defined as the "Act of leading organized cheering, as at sports … "The only difference is you have to hold two 50-pound weights above your head.". Notable cheerleading alumni include Cameron Diaz, Hale Barry and Sandra Bullock to Samuel L. Jackson, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush. Once she was in the hospital, she needed a respirator to breathe. "People that are older, they think back to what cheerleading was like in school and they cling to some of those stereotypes. And there's absolutely no way that if you did it for one day you wouldn't come back saying it's a sport.". When Gryskiewicz was a student at Florida International, the squad didn't have protective mats and was practicing on the gym floor when one of her teammates fell on her head during a stunt, fracturing her skull. So, in my opinion, Cheerleading is just as competitive and takes just as much work and practice as any other sport. Cheerleading is a sport that requires training, long hours and a lot of passion. It has even been proven that it takes 30 muscles to throw a football, and 40 muscles to do a standing tuck. In 1983, ESPN was the first to broadcast the National High School Cheerleading Competition. The Women’s Sports Foundation is among the groups that does not deem cheerleading a sport. Here’s why. Each has its own training camps, clinics and competitions and profit largely on the sale of uniforms, workout clothing and equipment. The AMA says cheerleading should be considered a sport The AMA argues that cheerleading is as rigorous as many other activities recognized as sports by the NCAA. It is a physical activity that is governed by rules under which a winner can be declared and its primary purpose is to compare the skills of participants. Sports fans come out in droves to watch actual sports. It's nothing unusual for someone who spent their childhood twisting and tumbling through the air with little regard for human limitations. Ask most college cheerleaders today and they'll admit that standing on the sidelines, screaming through megaphones and pumping their fists in the air is nowhere near a sport. "It's kind of like running an all-out sprint for two-and-half minutes," said Georgia Tech senior King Harrison, who played basketball and soccer in high school. She thinks cheerleading should be abolished. And perhaps avoid more injuries. "Within five years, this is going to be the norm. It was created to get the crowd riled up and cheer on others who were actually playing sports. "I'd have a whole different demographic to pick from," Veiling said. It’s just not. So the next time someone decides to say cheerleading isn’t a sport, they should give it a try. The thought of being a cheerleader didn’t appeal to me until my older sister started doing it. Officially classifying cheerleading as a collegiate sport would lead to more money, better coaches, cheerleading-specific trainers and a more balanced playing field. That's the group that counts for Title IX. "Try it for one day. There are different performance levels, too -- 1 being the lowest and 6 being the best -- a judging model very similar to gymnastics or figure skating. In 2014, the American Medical Association adopted a policy that, as the leading cause of catastrophic injuries of female athletes both in high school and college, cheerleading should be considered a sport. For years, cheerleading has been seen as a sideline sport, but many people are not willing to call it a sport at all. In order to achieve different skills, each athlete must condition and put in the effort to learn them. Competitive cheerleading is demanding. For 28 years, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, which oversees Title IX compliance, warned schools not to include "drill teams, cheerleaders and the like" as athletic programs to balance the books on Title IX. At one end of the argument are coaches like Vehling, who points to the gruesome injuries, the long hours, the agonizing training and those ultra-intense competitions as proof that cheerleading is much more than a stage for the prettiest girls on campus to flash their bloomers. Someone reminded her of what she's been able to do despite the injury, hinting that the cheerleader has a high tolerance for pain. He can be reached at wayne.dresh@espn3.com. "It's an athletic activity. Cheerleading is Not a Sport According to Joe Hatton, the author of the article, “Sports Beat - The sport of cheerleading: It’s more than just pompoms and smiles,” cheerleading is a sport because it requires strength, balance, and coordination. Cheerleading has long been considered an iconic American activity symbolizing school spirit, leadership, youthfulness, and sex appeal. No free books. Fleece said most schools are keeping an eye on her program and watching its development before making a move of their own. Forget that the seasons of high-profile male athletes Jason White, Willis McGahee and Aaron Boone crumbled to nothing when their ACLs shredded. More than 200,000 high school and college cheerleaders attend offseason All-Star camps to improve their skills. There are scratches, cuts and burns as well. "It's been phenomenal. About 98 percent of all female cheerleaders were former gymnasts, compared to just 20 percent of all male cheerleaders. At one competition, Gryskiewicz said she saw a male cheerleader tear his bicep straight from the bone, the muscle rolled up into his armpit like a window shade. But there are those who say that, at best, cheerleading is a school activity with gifted young athletes. Included among them is some of their own, like Texas coach Jeff Dieta. "At Kentucky, those guys can hold three girls with one hand. However, it doesn't make what they do a sport. None of this bothered her, though, until she watched the 2003 Heisman Trophy ceremony and saw the profile of White, the Oklahoma quarterback who tore his ACL twice in as many years. That she's nothing more than a glorified sex object, there to smile, look pretty and entertain the men. There is very valid evidence for both sides of the argument. In my opinion, I can easily and confidently say that all-star cheerleading is the hardest sport out of them all. Their sole purpose is to entertain, motivate and unite spectators of other athletic teams that are competing. But what is strange is that her ligament snapped like a twig in practice more than a year ago. When people think of cheerleading, thoughts of “spirit fingers” and pom-poms often come to mind. Just to have a physical therapy aspect would really help," Bangaoil said. Before I started cheering, I was big into soccer and softball. And how about the fact that it has a huge element of looks? So go ahead, tell Bangaoil that cheerleading isn't a sport. Every week in “All-Star Spotlight,” members of the ESPNHS All-Star team tackle a hot topic in high school sports. "You're right," she said. Cheerleading Is A Sport Or Not 864 Words | 4 Pages. She's also heard from other coaches, cheerleaders and administrators interested in creating a similar program at their schools. Since I play other sports such as lacrosse and track, I know what it’s like to run up and down a field, or do 55-meter hurdles. In all-star cheerleading, rather than cheering for a basketball or a football team, you learn one 2-minute, 30-second routine and show it off at a selection of different competitions. She was in the hospital for a long, long time," Gryskiewicz said. No one is filling up stadiums to watch cheerleading. Whether it is basketball, football or another sport, the sport itself is the main attraction—not the cheerleading. The only sport that ranks higher is football. As it stands now, the National Cheerleading Association and the Universal Cheerleading Association, not the NCAA, governs cheerleading. How would it change things for Veiling if UCLA adopted cheerleading as a sport, as Maryland did? If we could recruit, if we had scholarships, you could find the better athletes.". Although appearance is still important -- UCLA, for example, has hair and makeup consultants -- today's cheerleaders say its more about who can out-perform the competition than who's dating the starting quarterback. Day to day, there are bumps, bruises, sprains and injuries related to repetitive. With cheerleading as a considered-sport, the cheerleaders will have more opportunities to become better cheerleaders. According to the University of North Carolina's National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, each year more females are severely injured in cheerleading than athletes in any other sport. But by consulting with the OCR and then splitting its cheerleading squad into two entities, the Terps were able to circumvent the edict. 62 percent of cheerleaders are involved in a second sport. What sport … This has been a constant debate, whether cheerleading is a sport or not. Cheerleading isn’t a sport. All-Star Spotlight: Cheerleading is a sport, Gold medalist Alex Morgan goes old school, Gold medalist Allyson Felix shares secrets, Claressa Shields to fight for Olympic gold, Teens Franklin, Ledecky win swimming gold, Missy Franklin takes fourth in 200 freestyle. Adding it to the list would mean more safety measures for … They don't see the changes.". Competitive cheerleading is a sport. George W. Bush has been blowing hot air to anyone who would listen since his prep days at Phillip Andover. Cheerleading is a sport that requires training, long hours and a lot of passion. "It doesn't look like fun.". AMA members say cheerleading is as rigorous as many other activities that high schools and the NCAA consider sports. The school now has two cheerleading teams: One a more traditional group that cheers at basketball and football games; the other a 22-member team that performs only at intercollegiate cheerleading competitions. It's quite embarrassing when I go to games with children and see how sexualized the routines have become.". Though such injuries are rare, they happen. There's no way," said Mollie Vehling, UCLA's spirit squad advisor, a fancy name for cheerleading coach. In today’s society there is a huge argument on whether cheerleading is a sport or not. There's more than a matter of respect at stake. And do everything you can to keep it stable," Bangaoil said, explaining a regimen that any sore-armed pitcher or gimpy-kneed offensive lineman might use. More than 65% of catastrophic injuries occur in cheerleading. Though it is not necessarily like mainstream sports such as soccer, rugby and tennis (which all have a ‘playing’ element to them), cheerleaders execute their activity with as much energy, skill and passion as any player in the aforementioned sports. As the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Women’s Sports Foundation define “A sport is played for a competition and have rules to follow.” A sports team exists to score points not to perform or entertain the audience and it is an important factor of realization. It's a long way from the early 1970s, when Tex Schramm introduced the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as a sideshow to titillate the team's male fan base. But they don't see what's going on. 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