When most people think of a sport, the first thing that comes to our mind is baseball, America’s favorite past time, or football, or soccer, or volleyball. Rarely do people think of cheerleading as fitting into the category of a sport. I am a cheerleader and know the athletic ability one must have to be a cheerleader. This athleticism combined with the teamwork involved contribute to my belief that competitive cheerleading is a sport.
Competitive cheerleading requires a lot of hard work and practice. Practices can take place up to four times a week and may be as long as three hours each time. During practice, between stunting, tumbling, jumping, and conditioning, there is never a moments rest. Cheerleading involves constant activity, which makes the sport so rigorous. After lifting girls, I have to perfect my tumbling and jumping. By the end of a single practice, I am beat and want nothing more than my cozy bed to cuddle in. Despite the grueling practices, there is something that draws me to the sport and wins my heart over that makes it all worth it; being able to show what my hard work has led to. Instead of a game, match, or tournament, cheerleading has another way for athletes to prove their skills.
In cheerleading, teams go to competitions and compete against other teams in their divisions. This is the chance to shine and perform like I never have before. Just like any other sport, there is an allotted warm up time. Following warms up, I wait anxiously to go onto the competition floor. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush I feel while I execute each and every skill, dance move, jump, etc. Two minutes and thirty seconds is all it takes to finish the performance. After it is done, there is no going back. Any mistake that is made cannot be fixed and there is no chance to redeem ourselves at a later point. The judges have already seen what we can do and compare the routine to others. At the end of a cheerleading competition, there is always a winner just like any other sport. My heart and my soul pour into my routine when I have done my best. Even if my team loses, it is the comfort of knowing that I have done my best that makes everything worthwhile.
Whether my team wins or loses, it doesn’t matter because we did it together. I believe this is another aspect of being a sport: teamwork. Cheerleading involves teamwork throughout the entire season. Just as a wide receiver depends on his quarterback, a flyer depends on her back spot. A team is all about working together and trusting each other. I know that I can depend on each and every one of my team mates and, in a sense, we are more of a family than a team.
Cheerleading involves dedication and teamwork. Much time is put into practicing and into competitions to show off skill level. The team practices together and each team member does his or her own part to perform and excel in every way. After a practice I am sweating, hurting, sore, but still loving the thing that I do best. I believe this is what makes up a sport. I believe that competitive cheerleading is a sport.