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Cheerleading Isn’t a Sport? What About…

That cheerleader on the top is pretty hairy. But then again, who am I to judge? مواقع كازينو

In a recent court case, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that competitive cheerleading does not qualify as a SPORT. The exact ruling: “Competitive cheerleading is too ‘underdeveloped’ to qualify as a full-fledged sport for women under federal gender equality rules.”

NOTE: I’m not here to defend professional sports team’s cheerleaders. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are athletes. More dancers than cheerleaders, but athletes nonetheless. I’m focusing on competitive cheerleading. العاب كازينو

Instead of ripping into how ignorant this fool is, I decided to play the comparison game. Ok, after a bit of a rant…

Dictionary.com says:

sport: noun– an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature…”

Let’s keep that in mind.

My sister was a competitive cheerleader all throughout her high school years, most of her collegiate career and now coaches competitive high school cheerleading. Physically, she performed feats I couldn’t even joke about doing, myself. She inflicted more injury on her body cheerleading than I ever, EVER felt from swimming, water polo, tennis and everything else I did, combined. On a competitive level, you see only the most athletic people cheer. Saying cheerleading isn’t a sport should immediately strip golf, swimming and diving, ice skating, most of gymnastics, baseball and probably other sports of their funding at any level. But let’s continue.

Which of the next two pictures contains a feat of athleticism? If you’re having trouble deciding, try and pick which one you could do right now.

Big props to the eighteen time National Champions (including this year, 2010), University of Kentucky Wildcats cheerleading squad for the practice picture on the right (archived from the internet).

And speaking of big… the picture on the left. Big props to those guys for making it up the hill.

Test #2: which of the following looks more athletic? (Athleticism being a key to sports, according to definition)

– or –

Test #3: Which of these is more athletic?

– or –

So yeah. Please don’t try and argue that cheerleading isn’t a sport. At the collegiate level it is ruthless and competitive. العب واربح فلوس And since I’m not an expert on anything, especially not this, here’s a quick note from my sister, who is:

“I looked up an article online and it said, ‘It must have coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season and a governing organization. The activity also must have competition as its primary goal — not merely the support of other athletic teams.’ I’m not sure which of those are missing. Obviously there are coaches, practices, and competitions. If you ask any cheerleader that’s serious about the sport they would say competition is the main goal. Based off my team I coached… We had practices for 8 hours a day in the weeks leading up to competition. My kiddos only cheered at games because it was required by the state of Missouri for them to compete… but the majority of the team was on the team for Regionals and State… not football season. So that’s a little hypocritical to say that cheerleading is mainly based on supporting other teams when that’s set as a requirement to compete.”

-Kyle

Kyle

Kyle is a comedian writer, actor, and producer. You may have seen his standup on CONAN, or somewhere else if you’re really into standup. He has appeared on Fuse, Comedy Central, VH1, and more, and he has written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, contributed to Roasts, as well as Huffington Post, CNN, The New York Times, Wired, and a really cool site called Korked Bats.

Kyle

20 thoughts on “Cheerleading Isn’t a Sport? What About…

  • Avatar
    July 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm
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    I’ve never been more excited / proud to read an article on this blog. As a former competitive cheerleader, coach and basic cheerleading enthusiast it’s nice to hear a non-cheerleading male defend something I’ve been trying to argue since I was old enough to know what stunting was. In good spirit I linked the 2010 Louisville National Championship video because the only thing more competitive in Kentucky than basketball is cheerleading. Cheers!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm
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    Swimming and Diving is for sure a sport just like competitive cheerleading.

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  • Avatar
    July 23, 2010 at 4:30 am
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    All-star competitive cheerleading doesn’t cheer at games at all. It’s privately owned gyms that compete nation-wide at competitions year-round. Nothing but jumps, stunts, tumbling, and pyramids. No football required:)

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  • Avatar
    July 23, 2010 at 10:58 am
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    As a former cheerleader and mother of one I am here to say cheerleading is a sport no matter what others will say. My daughter cheered 4 years high school, 2 year competitive and 4 year college and now is coaching high school. For her it has always been a sport like she would say if it was easier it would have been called football.

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  • Avatar
    July 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm
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    i do not think cheering should be compared to these sports, perhaps even causing a losing battle per say. Winning is 90% mental, 10% physical. Now with that being said, nascar you lose any 1 mental and you die in a raging accident, Baseball you have more lee way but every play counts and that ball travels very fast to the point where your mind must be trained to do the right thing and golf although not tiring is extremely difficult, such precision is needed to be good or you will hit the ball way out of the course causing yourself several hits. I agree that all of these SPORTS are in fact boring to watch but they hold are not easy, correct me if i’m wrong but is getting better at nascar/baseball/golf easier than getting good at cheering and if so why are we all not next to A-rod hitting HR’s or next to Tiger Woods (not counting those who had affairs hehe) or next to Danicka Patrick driving but instead we are cheering? Hold your horses I have cheered but i am simply bringing up your faults in your argument that could be easily rebutted.

    Reply
  • Kyle
    July 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm
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    Ok Deanna,

    I’ll agree with you that winning is a majority mental, though you may underestimate the amount physicality plays. I’m not sure what NASCAR you watch, but I’ve seen hundreds of wrecks where no one “dies in a raging accident.” 17 collegiate cheerleaders had died from cheerleading accidents between the years of 1982-2007. While that isn’t an overwhelming statistic, stack it up against all of the other sports I discussed… combined. At the most elite of levels (NASCAR, MLB, PGA) it doesn’t quite stack up. I’m not saying other sports aren’t difficult, I don’t think you read the article very closely. I consider everything I posted about to be a sport (sans driving a car or truck in a circle). NASCAR has intense safety equipment. Baseball, too. Cheerleaders wear the same safety equipment as golfers, but I’m yet to see a golfer thrown twenty feet in the air to spin, while trusting another human being will catch them and prevent their neck from smashing against a floor. The article had NOTHING to do over what was boring to watch, simply what constituted a sport. And, actually, I think getting better at racing or baseball or golf IS easier than cheerleading. Whatever your physical ability is does not constitute what a sport is. Your examples are elite athletes, even Danica (without a K) Patrick, who is elite, but fails to deliver on the highest of levels. Why aren’t you cheering alongside Kiara Nowlin? She is an elite athlete, albeit in a less-mainstream sport. Naming the premier athletes in a sport because you are ignorant about those in another doesn’t constitute an argument, it simply helps me to organize you into the category of the masses, those who feel the elitism of their “sports community” is invaded by alternative, less-covered sports that are participated in by equally athletic human beings. I’ll relate it on a level that you probably will have to google. Kyle Gass, the guitar player for Tenacious D (alongside actor Jack Black) is a world class musician. He is one of the most talented guitarists in the entire world, specializing in acoustic and classical guitar. Since he decided to play in a satirical band, and not The Beatles, or another mainstream, world famous group, your rational would place him in the category of “not as good of a musician,” just as cheerleaders are “not as good of athletes.” But, in fact, he is a much more accomplished guitar player than anyone in The Beatles. You don’t have to resist alternative methodology, that which clashes with your own beliefs.

    I’m now holding my horses, thank you.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm
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    If i did not use Elite athletes people could not easily associate with them or any knowledge of them. But I do ask if you are given 1 year to get good at cheering and one year to get good at Softball which would you be better at (in comparison to others in the sport). Fair enough people in NASCAR do not drive but those accidents are not something you ever wish to be in, i mean throw me up in lib and drop me before you have my car burst into flames? You bring up opinion about your guitarists so that’s just null and void altogether sorry. Deaths in the cheering world are reason to eliminate it until it can be proven safer, just like football and it’s problems with concussions although football is extremely popular, so bringing that up is not the brightest of ideas to argue it’s case as a sport. You article may not have constituted what was boring but perhaps you should re-read “boring baseball”. I’m not saying cheering isn’t a sport (although i am undecided on whether i think it is or not) i’m simply bringing up the other side of the equation.

    Reply
  • Kyle
    July 23, 2010 at 8:07 pm
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    I would be way better at softball than cheerleading, it’s not even an issue (even though you never asked a question, you just sort of allowed your grammar to take control of a sentence fragment). Give me a few seconds to decode what your sentences are supposed to mean… ok, I think I got it. Most accidents in NASCAR don’t even result in the cars bursting into flames, I really think you’re overplaying the danger of that sport. It’s only real danger is a massive consumption of a limited natural resource, oil, so we can watch a bunch of advertisements drive in a circle while white-trash middle-America watches on, HOPING for a wreck, praying to their Miller High Life in a can that someone will run into someone else. If you think anywhere NEAR a majority of people watch NASCAR for anything but the wrecks, you are wrong. Watch any series of highlights on NASCAR. They show the wrecks and the finish (with the occasional clip of a car passing another car, WOOO!!!)

    I’m glad you confused an analogy (here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/analogy I’ll save you the time) for a null and void opinion. The man graduated from Juliard, his skill is not an opinion.

    There are deaths in everything in life, that’s no reason to end everything. You were simply under the impression that all of the other sports I listed were better suited to be considered a sport for various reasons, danger being one of them. You can’t argue your way around ignorance. Trying to exclude something from your mind of “what is or isn’t a sport,” is simply you trying to create a higher status for your own opinion, rather than including a formidable sport into your NASCAR enveloped brain.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm
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    Though I enjoyed this article and its strong opinion that cheerleading is a sport, the ruling made by the courts was not necessarily about whether or not cheerleading was an actual sport. Anyone with a brain stem can see that cheerleaders are highly trained athletes participating in a grueling and intense sport that requires both physical and mental prowess. The ruling was about Title IX which is a civil rights type act implemented by the NCAA to ensure equal athletic opportunities for both men’s and women’s sports. Jeff Webb, the chairman of Varsity brand and the director of UCA (Universal Cheerleading Association) spoke to this ruling at UCA’s Collegiate Cheerleading/Dance/Mascot camp at the University of Alabama this afternoon. Mr. Webb explained that the cheerleading squad in question was not a traditional collegiate squad that both competed and supported its university’s other athletic teams, but was a strictly competitive squad who’s soul purpose was to compete at meets against other competitive college squads. I honestly am happy with the ruling the courts have made. Consider this; If the court had ruled that cheerleading in this competitive form was a sport, male cheerleaders like myself would be removed completely from the collegiate cheerleading world so that universities could use their competitive, strictly female, cheerleading squads to allow for more male athletic slots to be allocated for the universities use. This is just one example of the advantages of cheerleading not being considered a “sport” by Title IX law. I just wanted to shed some light on the situation and explain what many of the heads of the All-star, High School, and Collegiate cheerleading worlds would like for everyone to know and understand. So basically the arguement was not about whether or not cheerleading is a sport, but whether or not it satisfied Title IX requirements for equal opportunity athletics. Thank god it doesn’t or the entire cheerleading world would be in for trouble. Oh and here is the original article I first read on this subject if anyone would like further insight into the entire ordeal.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/07/21/2010-07-21_cheerleading_is_not_a_sport_rules_judge_quinnipiac_university_cant_swap_volleyba.html

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 24, 2010 at 2:53 pm
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    As one of the cheerleaders featured in a few of the above listed media sources, I would dare Deanna to have a go at what we do. I’m not saying that baseball or NASCAR aren’t sports (despite how boring they both may be), but simply arguing that if the aforementioned “activities” are to be considered sport, then why not cheerleading? To answer your question (which you thought the answer to be so obvious you left it as a hypothetical), given one year at both cheerleading and baseball, I would definitely be better at baseball. To ask why there aren’t more of us out there with
    A-Rod is silly. Why weren’t there more people out there who were the caliber of my team when we were busy racking up 18 National titles. I suppose it goes without saying that there are pros and joes in every “sport,” but I’m certain you’d be a lot closer to A-Rod’s skill level than mine if given one year to learn both of our sports.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 25, 2010 at 11:45 am
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    Being a former college cheerleader I can tell you that it is an extremely athletic event and I was always excited for the National Championships every year. I am wondering why people who cheer would rather have the NCAA, an organization that has made many mistakes with other sports in the past, run the NC every year instead of actual cheerleading organizations? The NCAA isn’t ran by cheerleaders but athletes from the events that cheer squads were formed to support and business people, not people trained in cheer and dance. It makes me sad to realize that cheerleaders have forgotten the fact we are there to support our schools not ourselves. There are many schools who do not actively compete in any cheer based competitions. To say those cheerleaders aren’t athletes would be asinine, but to say they are in a sport? Cheerleading by definition is what we did on the sidelines to support our friends and family competing in other sports. Do not take that away from us or degrade the purpose of cheerleading. If you want to consider what competitive cheerleaders do as a sport then I will be happy to support you but please make the distinction between cheerleaders like myself and the men and women who solely cheer to compete. All-star cheerleading should be considered a sport but I honestly wish they would change the name, yes you are athletes, yes you compete, no you are not cheerleaders, you don’t cheer anyone on but yourself.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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    I competed in football, baseball, and cheerleading by the time I made it through my six years of college (Masters degree not failing). The argument over which is easier to learn is a stupid one to make. There are naturally talented people in any sport. To be honest I was able to become an elite level cheerleader in a much faster time than I was able to become so in baseball and football. I am sure in my situation other people might have found cheer to be harder but that only helps prove the point, it is individual. I don’t want to take anything away from UK cheer but their are also other elite cheer programs out there, I was on one, as well as elite programs in any sport like Duke in basketball and Nebraska in football. Given a year an average Joe wouldn’t make their team either.
    On the point that your sister coaches her high school team for competition only is sad. I am not taking away she may be an amazing person with a heart of gold and the ability to be a wonderful coach but she lost sight of what those cheerleaders are there for. They are there to support the other sports both male and female. Maybe she should consider coaching at an All-star gym instead of a HS. I know if that was the mentality of the coach to my son or daughter I would be approaching the school board about it. You are not “required” to cheer sidelines in order to compete. You were FORMED to cheer sidelines and then get the chance to compete.
    I would also have to agree that this ruling helped keep cheer alive, due to Title IX if it was a sport all male cheerleaders would have to go and there goes the majority of your bases in college.

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  • Avatar
    July 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm
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    OK, the point is whether or not these girls’ athleticism is for competing in its own right or just all part of the fun at football/basketball games (in which case their budget needs to be filed as a line item in the football or basketball budget for title IX purposes)

    (Granted, this is professional sports like you were staying away from but… This requires athleticism- yes. Is it competition? No. http://nyknickscitydancers.com/photos.aspx?galleryId=97

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm
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    Good job Kyle! Your post has gone a long way in bridging the gap between my son and my daughter who is a former cheerleader at the University of Kentucky. I’m glad you took this position. Cheerleaders, especially at the collegiate level are definitely athletic. I actually think there are some advantages for the sport to remain outside of the grasp and controls of the NCAA. If it were a sport and were controlled by the NCAA it would be a much different “sport”. Thanks – I’m glad Austin didn’t edit this one and, judging by the number of comments, you hit on a hot topic! Again, well done…..

    Reply
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  • Avatar
    August 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm
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    I’m a competitive cheerleader and i play softball… I’ve been cheering for 9 years and playing softball for 4. in comparison to most of the other people on both my teams i would say im ranked about #1 on my softball team and about #14 in cheerleading! When i go to my softball practices wa barely do anything and unless it’s really hot outside I dont sweat at all! Cheer practices are held indoors in an air-conditioned gym and i start sweating about an hour into it! If we lose a softball game my team just says stuff like “oh…better luck next time!” and if we lose a cheer competition we cry! literally cry!! because we worked so hard and it isn’t even paying off! i also would like to mention i do tournament softball and I find it extremely easy! My stunt group last year was doing a basket toss (which is pretty easy if u know how to do it) and we threw the flyer a little forward and a little too high…she hit the floor and was knocked unconcious(and she didnt even land on her head) we all came and stood around her and all of a sudden she was having a seizure!! she went to the hospital and had a spinal cord issue and a few broken bones and somehow head trauma…now basket tosses are considered illegal in my county because of what can happen if u make a tiny mistake! also who ever said tht in baseball the ball is coming at u hard and u really need to be alert or whatever…well when u have to get to a certain spot on the floor and then throw a girl 15 feet in the air 1 little mistake can send someone to the emergency room or maybe even worse than tht! all im trying to say is tht if they dont think cheerleading is a sport they should think about this: chess is considered an activity, singing is an activity, newspaper club at school is an activity, if u consider cheerleading an activity then just think how dangerous and hard cheerleading is and how much physical strength, speed, and flexibility u need for cheerleading compared to all those activities! and now compare to what ppl consider sports…what comes out on top?? CHEERLEADING!! yes! so, cheering is a sport no arguments its just whats true!! also sry this is so long! lol

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