Cheerleading: Sport Fact or Fiction?

Essay by allstarchikCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2005

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"She's ditzy," "They're snobs," "What an airhead," and the list of unflattering traits goes on. When referring to cheerleaders, chances are you've probably heard them all. You may imagine a cheerleading member is not too bright, and more concerned about what shade of red lipstick to wear than world events. Most people think of cheerleading squads as a social club of good-looking girls who wouldn't give the average Joe the time of day, right? Wrong. Cheerleaders are athletes. In past years, high school cheerleaders needed only to be pretty, perky and popular. However, over the last decade, cheerleading has been recognized as a competitive sport more each day. If you're like most people, the word cheerleading conjures up visions of beautiful, young women in skimpy, sexy outfits. Nothing about cheerleading could be farther from the truth.

Cheerleading is not as easy as it looks. There's much more to cheerleading than cheering for football or basketball players while they sweat and shoot baskets or make touchdowns.

Cheerleaders sweat too. I can remember the first year I started cheering. That year, I think all the girls on my team had sweat coming down all season long. You may think that it's all fun and games. Or what could be easier than going out to a football field and cheering for a bunch of sweaty guys? You are wrong. To most, cheerleading is not considered a sport usually because it seems more of an annoyance to the crowd than anything else. What the crowd does not see is the time, sweat, tears, pain, and even sometimes blood that go in to making a squad successful. There are few different aspects of cheerleading that are needed to make a squad successful; dancing, gymnastics, stunting and cheering itself. Dancing is important in distinguishing a cheerleading...