Cheerleading, a sport? Yes!

Enterprise file photo — Jordan J. Michael

Pumping their fists, Berne-Knox-Westerlo cheerleaders rallied the crowds at last winter’s basketball games.  Skylar Marotta argues that cheerleading, for both boys and girls, is a sport requiring skill and stamina. Hannah Durant, however, says it’s not a sport. She was once a cheerleader but now is both a wrestler and a football player, and would rather be playing on the field than cheering on the sidelines.

To the Editor:

You carry a one-pound football? They carry an 80-pound human.

You have three hours to play the game? They have two minutes to show the judges what they’ve got.

You wear a helmet protecting a ball? They wear bows protecting a human.

You run all over the field with a ball in your hand? They run all over the mat doing cartwheels.

You fall three feet when another player tackles you? They fall 12 feet when they fall from a stunt.

Welcome to the world of cheerleading.

People in the stands at the football games say cheerleading isn’t a sport? Obviously they haven’t been to the practices or competitions. People think that cheerleading is just a bunch of pretty girls with short skirts and tight shirts jumping up and down on the sidelines rooting for the home team.

Well, it’s more than that. Cheerleading involves long practices, broken bones, and sometimes even concussions.

I used to be a cheerleader, and, thankfully, no one on my team got seriously injured. However, my sister is a cheerleader and she’s already had a broken nose and a hurt neck, and two other girls on her team have gotten concussions.

I understand that people don’t want to become a cheerleader because they’re risking injury, but have you heard of a sport where no one gets injured?

People should consider cheerleading a sport because it is competitive. And I’m not talking about cheering at the football games; I’m talking about the weekend competitions.

Everyone is competing to win. Isn’t that what football and baseball and all the other sports are about?

When someone gets hurt during their hockey game, they usually get back up and play the game. It’s the same thing with cheerleading competitions. If you drop a stunt, catch the flyer and carry on with the routine. If you get elbowed in the face, unless your nose is bleeding everywhere, you keep cheering.

Another point I’d like to bring up is boys on the cheer teams. Lots of them are being made fun of because they’re doing a “girls’ activity.”

I’ve been to lots of cheer competitions and at least 75 percent of the teams had at least one boy, and not one of the moves the boys did in their routines were “girl.” And, when cheerleading first started, girls weren’t even involved; the teams were all boys!

Cheerleaders also risk injury for their activity. Cheerleaders lose about 28.8 days of their activity due to injury.

I don’t know about you, but I think risking injury during an activity that you enjoy doing is dedication. Cheer has also been around for a very long time. Cheerleading was first introduced in the 1880s at Princeton University. And, if it has been around for over 130 years, you’d think it would an official sport by now!
So next time you go to a football game and you see the cheerleaders on the sidelines, think about all of the practices, competitions, and injuries they’ve been through. Cheerleading is just like any other sport.

Oh, you play football? That’s cute.

Skylar Marotta

Farnsworth Middle School