a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
b. A particular form of this activity.
2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
3. An active pastime; recreation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheerleading - Is it a Sport? Is it Necessary?

I am not going to argue against the athelticism and competitiveness of cheerleading. Girls and guys alike have strength, stamina, gymnastic ability and smile all at the same time. There are competitions for all ages and all categories of cheerleading in all areas where people take part. Squads practice for hours and hours and the risk of injury is great (I wouldn't want to be tossed in the air and caught by any teenage girls, personally!).

Is it a sport in the traditional sense? No, because cheerleading competitions are subjective. But then again, so is gymnastics. So, on most levels, I could say it's a sport, right? I just can't get over that it wasn't ever intended to be. Cheerleading was supposed to be exactly what the name suggests - people leading cheers, as in for the athletes on the court/field. Did anyone ever intend for there to be two sports happening simultaneously? Doubtful.

Now, I have no problem with cheerleading squads pushing themselves to make their stunts better, bigger and more interesting. I think the dedication is admirable and definitely respectable. It's really hard, though, to separate what's admirable about cheerleading from what's not. You know what I'm talking about - there are enough Bravo shows and Lifetime movies about the extremes of cheerleading (if you didn't already know them firsthand): the moms that never made it and push their daughters to crazy extremes to make the squads, the hair bows that could knock someone over if they got too close (and the freakishly curled and hairsprayed hair to go with them), the slutty middriff-bearing tops and too short skirts (I don't care WHAT they're wearing under them, they're hardly technically skirts anymore!), and of course the over-the-top bitchy, I mean cheery attitudes to go with it all.

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