Worthy of Respect

Marena - Michigan
Entered on January 21, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

The loud chants, the ridiculous tumbling, and disgusting flexibility can only be linked to one thing: CHEERLEADING. Probably the most bashed upon sport out there, and yes I did say sport. As an ex-member of the Hudsonville cheer team I know there is only one thing that I could debate upon for hours, the one thing that makes me cringe, and the one thing that sends pangs of retaliation through my body: is “cheerleading isn’t even a sport.”

Not a sport? I believe this claim is disrespectful seeing as girls devote three hours a day to practice and repetition, in order to become better at their skills. Every other sport does the same thing, yet cheerleaders get no credit. It makes no sense that gymnastics is considered a sport and even though cheerleading is composed of a lot of gymnastics it still doesn’t cut it. Why the double standard? Trust me, I still can’t figure it out.

The same people complain that “cheerleading doesn’t even include a ball.” What are you the sport police? In that case should we bring a ball out and set it on the mat? I’m sure then the controversy would be settled . Maybe even throwing the ball from flyer to flyer would make it more official, as if we don’t have enough trouble just trying to balance . And not to mention plenty of other sports have nothing to do with a ball including swimming, wrestling, and skiing.

“How hard could it be?” You’re right we probably just sit around singing Kumbaya all practice and then magically have learned every word, motion, and step. Oh and believe me there is no difference between a freshman and varsity team. I mean the members haven’t gotten better or anything. Also, I’m sure if you asked the athletic trainer he would say cheerleading wins the most visits due to injuries award.

Now you are probably thinking I’ve loved cheerleading since I was little and I had always wanted to be a cheerleader. Wrong. When I was 6 I was a ballet master, living and breathing dance. While I was doing twirls on the slippery wood floor my 15 year old step sister was doing what I called “stiff dancing”. In the 8th grade, my friends and family had me convinced to try out for the stiff team. Surprisingly, I realized practice was a lot harder then I had expected it to be, I mean just getting the words to stick in my head was proving to be impossible. This is when I began defending the sport.

I believe that cheerleaders deserve the same respect as any other athlete. Sometimes people are a little too quick to judge without actually experiencing the physically demanding schedule. So the next time you want to get a cheerleader fired up, you know what to say. On the other hand you’re asking for a headache; because trust me, she can and will yell louder than you.