We have all heard the opinion that cheerleading is not a sport. The fact that we don't tackle our opponents to the ground for a ball does not mean that we are not athletes. We work just as hard as "real athletes" work. Our practices are just as intense and our competitions are even more intense then a basketball or football game. Our sport, unlike most, is not a selfish one. Part of being on a cheerleading squad is appreciating and cheering on our fellow athletes. The same athletes that insult our sport.
What is it that qualifies an activity to be a sport? Is it the ball? No, wrestling is a sport and it doesn't contain a ball. Is it the sweat? Can't be the sweat, cheerleaders sweat just as much, but we hide it well! Is it the practice? Nope, our practices are more intense than many other sports' practices. The audience? No, can't be that either, audiences at competitions out number those at many ball games!
So what is it? Cheerleading takes just as much dedication and skill as any other sport, sometimes it takes more. The problem is that other athletes have no idea what it takes to be a cheerleader. We make it look so easy. We fly through the air with grace, we catch our teammates as though they are feathers floating from the sky. They don't understand the technique and time it takes to master such skills. To us, cheerleading is not a game, like football or basketball. Cheerleading is a way of life.
Cheerleading, more than any other sports, teaches important skills such as cooperating. Let's face it, if a cheerleading squad can't cooperate, stunts can't hit and people get hurt. Other sports encourage team cooperation, and they may lose a game if they fail to cooperate; but overall, no one gets hurt.
What does a "sport" have that we don't? We practice, compete, have rules, go through training, sweat, fall, get hurt, and dedicate our lives to cheerleading... There is no reason why cheerleading should not be considered a sport.
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