Is Cheerleading a Sport?

Cheerleading has been around for as long as we can remember.  Girls in skirts kicking and cheering on the sideline and throwing their flashy pom poms around has been a popular spectacle at sporting events all over the world.

Today, there are serious controversies about whether cheerleading, itself, is actually a sport or not.  In my opinion, it depends.  There are different kinds of cheerleading that exist today.  There is the kind of cheerleading where the girls (and guys) stand on the sideline of a football game and do a few kicks and yell cheers and chants at the crowd of fans.  This is typical at high school sporting events and some college sporting events.  This type of cheerleading is most definitely not a sport.  It requires no athletic ability, no skill, no physical exertion, and there is no competitive edge.

On the other hand, there is what we call competitive cheerleading.  This is the type of cheerleading where the girls (and guys) perform feats of athletic skill and ability.  Stunts, tumbles, leaps and things of that nature make up their routine.  These routines are judged by difficulty and are timed and evaluated.  There is competition among different cheer groups.  According to an article titled “Being a Cheerleader-Is Cheerleading a Sport?”, the Women’s Sports Foundation has decided that elements such as physical activity, competition, rules and regulations, and some sort of comparison of skills makes up a sport.  Competitive cheerleading meets all of these qualifications.  I will also argue that cheerleading has different “positions” just as a football team or basketball team does.  There are bases, flyers, and other positions that must have certain skills and abilities to be able to contribute to the team’s success.  This is supported by the article titled “Cheerleading is a Sport”.

After researching different definitions of sport and the actual event that is competitive cheerleading, I will argue that competitive cheerleading is most definitely a sport while typical sideline cheerleading is not.

My sources can be found at these links:



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