This I Believe

Jenna - Tonganoxie, Kansas
Entered on May 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Cheerleaders are Athletes

Do you believe cheerleading should be considered a sport? I do. I am a cheerleader at my school, and we work just as hard (if not harder) than any other sport. Hopefully, when I share my experiences, you will agree with me.

Cheerleaders at my school pay an athletic fee. Although, we don’t get any athletic funds, because we aren’t considered athletes.

We work really hard, ALL YEAR! During the summer we practice in the morning for two hours in a hot weight room. During the school year practice is two hours after school. Practice includes going over the numerous cheers and chants. We have to memorize them and hit our motions sharply! Then we work on jumps. A jump is where girls jump into the air and do a toe touch, right, or left side. In a jump your toes are to be pointed and knees are to be straight. They should be high in the air. The scariest part of being a cheerleader is the stunting. Have you ever seen cheerleaders to pyramids or hold other girls in the air? Well, that is a stunt. We like to think of that as our “weights.” While practicing stunts you must make sure that when someone falls they don’t hit the floor. Although it does happen. One time I was going up and I slipped right out of the other girl’s hands, and fell on the ground. It hurt a little, but mostly just scared me! When we fall out of stunts the only thing there is to do is to do it until we get it perfect. We work on gymnastics. Quite a few of us can do backflips, back handsprings, and aerials. That takes lots of strength and flexibility.

We do all of this through the year. There are lots of people that support us, but there are people who don’t support us. Some people even go so far as saying that we shouldn’t be at the games. It makes us feel awful when we don’t feel wanted. It stinks when we work so hard to look great for them, and then being told we don’t belong there, but we just keep cheering anyway.

Cheerleading also has intrinsic value. It is important to me personally, because everyone has that one special thing that they do. Some people are good at basketball, some are good at football, but I’m good at cheerleading. I have lots of fun with it. I have worked really hard to accomplish being a wonderful cheerleader. Some people ask why do it if it’s so much work. It is the sport I work hard at and love.

Although we work hard we have lots of lasting friendships and memories. Before games we sometimes get together to get ready and some of us even just get together for fun. This is the sport we all love and work together as a team. We are athletes, and no matter what we just keep on cheering.