Cheerleading–A Sport or an Activity?


The varsity cheerleading team performs a pyramid at the Blue and Silver Game on August 23rd, 2019.

From sideline to competitive, cheerleading is an amazing thing to watch. Over the years, it has evolved into an extraordinary activity that male and female athletes can do. Cheerleading involves the use of both physical and mental strength for athletes doing it.

“Cheerleading takes a lot of dedication, trust, and hard work,” said junior Grace Moos.

According to Chasse, a cheerleading equipment brand, cheerleading is completely proven as a sport. The definition of a sport is, “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Ultimately, cheerleading represents all of those and goes beyond. But how?

Competitive cheerleading involves several things, such as stunting, (a stunt group of people, holding or tossing a flyer in the air), and tumbling, (an athlete using their body to flip). The sport also consists of jumping, dancing, and more. The cheerleaders/their coaches use these techniques and combine them to form a two to three-minute routine.

In competitive cheerleading, there are levels one through six. Each level has its own rules based on the skill of that level It also has divisions based on age, such as youth, junior, or senior. It also has divisions based on how big or small the team is, such as small, medium, or large.

For example, there could be a Small Senior three team, competing against another Small Senior three team. The routines made for each division are used to compete against many other teams at that level; most of the teams are aiming to take first place.

“My favorite thing about competitive cheerleading is adrenaline feeling when you get on the mat with your team,” said freshman Ashlynn Olson.

Sideline cheerleading can be similar to competitive cheerleading in some ways, but also is very different in others. Sideline cheerleading is the act of cheering for a team of athletes, usually basketball or football. The activity is performed to hype up the crowd and the athletes they are cheering for. It is similar because they still do stunting, tumbling, etc.

The difference between competitive and sideline cheering is that the sideline cheerleaders directly chant cheers to the crowd and players. These cheers are mainly about the team being cheered for, or the game being played, and sometimes both.

Also, the cheerleaders will sometimes perform a routine at halftime or during a timeout. These performances can also be performed and coordinated with the marching band and other activities.

“I love seeing the crowd get excited for the game, and I love being involved in cheering with them,” said freshman Anna Barber.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, “[T]he Journal of Pediatrics in October found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females because of the high risk for concussions and ‘catastrophic’ injuries.” It can be a dangerous sport if not taught and practiced correctly. But with safety and caution, it can be an especially fun thing to do.

Cheerleading is as much as a sport as much as another sport. It takes skill, agility, and most of all teamwork. Like any other team sport, every athlete has to work and cooperate with each other to make the routine, not be perfect, but finish as best as they can.

“I have been cheerleading varsity all of my four years of high school, and it has taught me perseverance and ethic[s] in my everyday life. I wouldn’t be the same without it,” said senior Reaghan Dougherty.

The Air Academy High School cheer team will be performing at the next AA football game on October 18th.