Why Competitive Cheerleading Is a Legitimate Sport

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Why Competitive Cheerleading Is a Legitimate Sport

Reagan Rawls '21

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A lot of people will hear the word cheerleading and often what automatically comes to mind is “that’s not a real sport”. Not many people take cheerleading seriously even though it’s ranked #1 for the highest contact sport and #1 one for most concussions.

An average competitive cheerleading routine includes stunts, jumps, tumbling and a dance, typically at the end of the routine. They are two and a half minutes of action-packed, non-stop, high-energy movement.

While cheerleading is fun, there are also many dangers associated with the sport. During basket tosses, bases have to explosively throw the flyers high into the air, while the flyers kick and twist their bodies, then proceeding to catch them. While tumbling, cheerleaders have to put their bodies in extremely unnatural positions, while flipping upside down and spinning in the air. To perform a jump, athletes spring off the mat and must control their bodies so that both legs and arms hit certain positions depending on which jump is being performed.

Cheer routines are not to be taken lightly and require a lot of practice especially for proper and successful execution. Hours of conditioning go into this sport. The average cheerleader will spend eight hours in the gym per week, running full-out routines, back-to-back.

Competition days are extremely long and often stressful but are nevertheless worth it. Teams will wake up as early as 4:00 AM to rally at 6:00, then compete at 7:00 AM on Saturdays and Sundays, just to do it all over again the next weekend.

Lastly, cheerleaders travel across the country for the sport. In short, the sport requires intense commitment and dedication.

Image courtesy of Reagan Rawls ’21.