What Makes a Sport a Sport?
Sports play a vital role in our lives. It is incredible to increase physical fitness and flexibility of joints. It can mold the body easily in any pose. In sports either men or women, each train hard to get their best level. Like a football team that actually competes against another team to score points and try to win the game. Besides this, on the sidelines, the football team’s cheerleaders constantly support their team by cheerleading.
To display the perfect routine in games, a cheerleader comparatively practices harder than a football or basketball player does. Some people say cheerleading is relevant to athletic activity and cheerleading is a sport but some have a question in mind is cheerleading a sport?
Is cheerleading a sport?
The continuous debate over whether cheerleading is a sport remains a matter of subjectivity. The ultimate verdict on whether cheerleading qualifies as a sport can differ from one person to another. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of this discussion, let’s explore various perspectives:
Reasons Why It is a Sport
There are many arguments as to why cheerleading is a sport. In history, cheerleading started after World War two by students, against the bad attitude and harsh treatment of teachers. Students materialized their own extracurricular activities to gain independence from their faculty abuses. This was the beginning of American Sports that initially started with the collegiate team. On November 6, 1869, the first intercollegiate football game was played in the United States of America with a cheer of “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-h!” of fans and students who were attending games.
In the beginning, cheerleading was an all-male activity. But after some years it began to be considered a feminine activity. At every school and collegiate level across the country, females were leading it. Professional cheerleading was begun in 1950 and women were selected for two reasons. Including encouragement of their teams to compete their team by exposing visual sex appeal and an ability to dance sophisticatedly
From 1972-1973 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders got achievements in aesthetic outfits and dance moves to lead the crowd. It grew up together with football with more inventive ways to make the airwaves and learned about pyramids and stunts. This made cheerleading change solely from a sideline activity to a competitive sport.
Why It is not a Sport?
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.
Initially, school Cheerleading started to focus on promoting school spirit. They initiated by supporting their teams in the competition and giving leadership to the school and community. It is not considered a sport because there is no competition against other opponents. They just cheer to support or motivate the crowd and their team.
In addition to this, it is not the subject of the rules and regulations that keep athletes safe. The cheer squad mostly doesn’t have proper facilities and equipment. On the other hand, a sportsman has access to a trainer, medical care, certified coaches, and suitable practice time. With actual training requirements, athletes are not exposed to avoidable risk.
Many people give negative comments about cheerleading like why is cheerleading a sport? They see one end of the picture and forget other. So pay attention both ends just like a player’s efforts and skills.
Well, It has been a part of debate for many years and there is no authentic statement about cheerleading as a sport.
Cheerleaders are athletes that require physically demanding and mentally challenging as any activity.
Cheerleading in Comparison to Other Sports
As the days of pom pom and claps are over things are more complex and competitive just like “All-Star” cheerleading which is different from American football or basketball. Cheerleaders work hard to polish their steps to compete with each other in a head-to-head fashion. Every squad has to do physical exertion to create a performance routine.
When comparing cheerleading to other sports, there’s a common misinterpretation that stems from the relatively short duration of a competition routine. It typically lasts just 2 minutes and 30 seconds. However, this belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Cheerleading demands a significant amount of mental and physical strength as compared to traditional sports.
Unlike some sports like football, where there’s an opportunity to rectify errors in the second half, cheerleading offers no second chances. There’s just that one crucial moment to step onto the floor and deliver the routine flawlessly. This is why rigorous practice is a constant in the cheerleader’s life. Achieving a perfect routine doesn’t guarantee victory either, as it ultimately rests in the judges’ subjective hands.
Fallacies about Cheerleading
Sadly, misconceptions prevail regarding cheerleading, often labeling cheerleaders as mere crowd leaders and eye candy. The reality is quite different. The countless hours of intense practice, outside of school functions, remain unseen by many, making it essential to challenge these preconceived notions. Unlike other sports that receive substantial promotion, cheerleading’s competitive aspect still awaits wider recognition and appreciation.
Why is Cheerleading the Most Dangerous Sport
When you see from a cheerleader perspective, you will analyze the facts and realize how difficult for a squad to do flips, and lift up another girl. Whose size is bigger than a ball hold her up in the air, and do a full stunt sequence without dropping her.
So to throw a girl in the air and catch her is not more than the most dangerous sport. Any little mistake can result in serious injury or sometimes the cheerleader may lose her/his body parts. Competitive cheerleading is very different it involves dancing, jumping, trembling, and creating different angles to form pyramids.
While performing, it is critical and dangerous at certain points that they are afraid of falling on the ground. A cheerleader uses all of their energy to dance, tumble, heel stretches, and splits. Everyone needs so much training if they are starting from the bottom. They get points of difficulty as well as their looks, bow, and makeup.
Did you know that cheerleading has more injuries and it comes after football? The reports show 2/3 catastrophic injuries amongst high school female athletes. 37,000 cheerleaders went to the emergency room in 2011. The prevalence of concussions and catastrophic injuries can potentially lead to permanent disabilities.
The best way to prevent injuries is to declare cheerleading a sport and require teams to follow the same regulations and rules as any other physical sport. The U.S. All-Star Federation organizes cheerleading competitions within safety limits and dictates rules of conduct.
Cheerleading as a Sport
The International Olympic Committee(IOC) has given cheerleading a provisional status as an Olympic sport.
In 2016 the New York Times report said, that the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) executive board voted to recognize cheerleading as a sport. And that it is not important for cheerleaders to be able to participate in the year of 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang or in the 2020 Games in Tokyo. This sport takes a period of three years. During this time, IOC execs can vote at any time to recognize the sport and then the ICU can request to add to the Games. If they accept or approve the request then cheerleading officially becomes part of an Olympic sport!
Several updates have been made in considering cheerleading as a sport on a global level. Specific of these are STUNT and recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the Olympics:
Congratulate! To the Cheer Community USA Cheer announced the sport of STUNT in 2011, which is derived from traditional cheerleading. The purpose of STUNT is to create new opportunities for female athletes at the collegiate and high school levels to meet the requirements of a sport under Title IX. This new discipline of STUNT includes all of the athletic skills from cheerleading in 4 quarters of games. For head-to-head competition by focusing on the technical element and athletic components.
The game consists of four different formats such as pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps, and tumbling. In each quarter of the game, the team of cheerleaders is evaluated on their difficulty level and performing skills. If a team performs its best routine will get the points. Stunt expanding its horizon and more than 500,000 high school cheerleaders are actively participating. They represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.
At the 9th Annual College STUNT, National Championship, Oklahoma State University, and Davenport University took Top Honor with the level of their talent.
Recognition by IOC
In 2021, USA Cheer honored full International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition for the International Cheer Union. The recognition was granted by the IOC membership in a vote at the 138th IOC Session, in advance of the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. From the IOC prospect, the International Cheer Union will receive at least $25,000 every year. This allocation will result in the inclusion of cheerleading in the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.
The ICU and Cheerleading are now fully eligible to petition to be included in the Olympic Games and a variety of Olympic multi-sport Games. The recognition will help ensure greater support and funding for Cheerleading development in many countries around the world.