A sport is defined as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature” (Dictionary. com). Someone can’t roll out of bed and be an amazing cheerleader. Cheerleading is an activity that takes massive amounts of skill and physical prowess, but on July 22nd of 2010 Connecticut Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled competitive cheerleading as not being a sport. Considering the physical demand of the activity, the court system should reconsider competitive cheerleading as a sport.
In 2009 the cheerleading squad of Quinnipiac University planned on eliminating its women’s volleyball team and replacing it with cheerleading. Some players on the volleyball team and their coach sued the college because of their plan to terminate the team. The volleyball team believed that the actions that were planned kept with the guidelines of Title IX. Title IX is “the major federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance (hereafter referred to as “covered institutions”). ” (Maec. org).
Judge Stefan Underhill, after his decisions, stated “Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX, Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students. “(Finnegan). Cheerleading became famous in the 1880s at Princeton University. It was created to make people get more involved in Princeton’s football games. After his graduation, Tom Peebles, a Princeton graduate, tried to introduce a form of “organized crowd chanting” to the University of Minnesota.
However cheerleading did not become popular until Peebles actually became the very first cheerleader and cheered on Minnesota’s football team in 1898 (KnowledgeBase). My first argument in support of cheerleading as a sport is one of common sense, to me at least. By definition cheerleading should be considered as a sport. It is physically strenuous and it is dangerous, both elements that every activity considered as a sport possesses. Some would argue it’s not a sport because it is not a competition. The people who say it’s not a competition are misinformed or ignorant of the topic, because competitive cheerleading is a competition.
When teams got to cheerleading competitions they’re pit against other squads and whoever has the most spirit and cheers best wins. The squads that enter these competitions practice their routines all day every day. At the trial to determine whether or not cheerleading is a sport Jeff Webb stated “They don’t cheer and they don’t lead,”. Jeff Webb is a former cheerleader and he happens to be the president of several cheerleading organizations (Cloutier). Jeff Webb was in favor of declaring cheerleading as not a sport. Webb says he loves cheerleading but would never consider it a sport.
I oppose his statement “They don’t cheer and they don’t lead,” because they most certainly do cheer. That’s what cheerleaders do. They go on stage and cheer. Their routine is made up of cheering, and while they’re cheering they’re leading the audience to follow along. The definition of a cheerleader is a person who leads spectators in traditional or formal cheering, esp. at a pep rally or athletic event (Dictionary. com). Even in the definition it states “a person who leads spectators in traditional or formal cheering” So to me that definitely means that they not only cheer but they also lead.
Another reason Judge Underhill says that cheerleading should be a sport is because he says that the activity is too underdeveloped and disorganized, but I also disagree with that. At my high school, Parkside High School, we have a competitive cheerleading team and they are as organized, if not more, than every other “sport” at Parkside. When they go to their competitions they order their uniforms, practice their routine daily, get a time slot for their performance, and get a charter bus and everything else necessary. Their practice schedule has to be physically draining.
I wrestle, run cross country and play lacrosse for Parkside and practice, for us, starts at 3:10 and is normally over at 5:30 or 6 but any given day, upon leaving I could see the cheerleading squad still practicing after we’re done. Unlike most sports, cheerleading isn’t a seasonal sport. Cheerleading is a year round activity, from Autumn to Spring. Most of the Parkside cheerleaders, like many I’d imagine, continue to cheer over the Summer. In the summer a lot of these cheerleaders participate on competitive cheerleading teams, which should be known as a sport team.
In my opinion cheerleaders are sometimes more athletic than football or lacrosse players, and in many instances more athletic than golfers. Cheerleaders put their bodies on the line every day. Most football or lacrosse players wouldn’t enjoy the idea of being thrown ten feet in the air and having three people catch them, especially the bigger players. Being a high school student a lot of friends who are cheerleaders and they always show up to class bruised and beaten from their cheering routines. Cheerleading might be the most dangerous activities in the school.
They are not allowed to practice In the lobby of the school because the ceiling is too low for their aerial stunts, so they have to come into the gym where us wrestlers practice. When the cheerleaders are in the gym, instead of watching my coach teach us new moves, I pay attention to the cheerleaders. When doing their routines they do a variety of flips spins and throws. Watching them practice makes me feel like wrestling isn’t much of a sport. Cheering requires strength, precision, and focus. Even when they’re on the sidelines the cheerleaders are doing flips, spins and rolls that I would never imagine doing.
Simply by observing I could tell that cheering takes a tremendous amount of skill. As a wrestler and lacrosse player I know my sports can be very intense and dangerous, but cheerleading is one of the most dangerous activities someone could do. I’m not saying that danger should define something as a sport, but, when deciding whether or not something is a sport danger should be a factor. Another item to think about when deciding if cheerleading should be a sport or not, is to think about what activities are already considered sports.
Chess, poker, and bowling are considered sports and they take very little physical prowess. Someone doesn’t even need legs to play chess or poker. Bowling only takes being able to actually pick up the ball and throw it down the lane. One other “sport” that I think doesn’t deserve its label as a sport is curling. Curling is an Olympic sport where someone slides a stone down a lane of ice and his or her team members try the sweep the ice in front of the stone with a broom. All of these activities are fun, but I don’t think they should be considered sports.
I feel if stone gliding is considered an Olympic sport, then doing aerial flips, cheering, and tossing people in the air should definitely be. Judge Stefan Underhill may have deemed cheerleading as not a sport in 2010 but my prediction is by 2020 cheerleading will be considered a sport and not only be practiced worldwide but in the Olympics, with America winning of course.
Khadaroo, Stacy Teicher. “Cheerleading doesn’t count as a real sport, judge rules. ” Christian Science Monitor 22 July 2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.