Varsity Cheer member, Alex Perry, is working hard on her toe touches at their practice on Thursday, November 5, 2020. (NDP Staff Photo/Lauren Chantler)
In today’s society, there is a controversial question of, “Is cheerleading a sport?” Depending on what you hear from other people or an opinion that you’ve always had, you might be confused about this topic. Many would disagree and say that cheerleading is not a sport, when in fact, they will now be proven wrong.
Mark Cisterna, The Athletic Director at NDP, shared his thoughts on whether cheerleading is a sport or not. “No technicality, it is a sport. Want me to tell you why? It’s because they compete,” Cisterna said. He believes that for something to be called a sport, it has to be competitive. The NDP cheer team competes every year and even won a state title in the spring of 2020.
There are usually two parts to school cheer, competitive and game-day. “Cheer isn’t considered a sport when you’re cheering at your own school, but it’s determined when you compete against other schools and a winner is determined then you’re a sport,” Cisterna said. The game-day aspect of cheer might not make cheer seem like a sport, but the fact that they put a lot of hard work into the sidelines.
Sophomore on NDP Varsity Cheer, Alex Perry, expressed her opinion on this topic as well. She has been doing cheer for eleven years and she would agree cheer is a sport. “I do think cheer is a sport because cheer competes against many other teams across the country, and it takes many months of hard work to get the best results,” said Perry.
Perry has heard a lot of debate on this topic between her highschool peers. “A lot of my highschool guy friends still aren’t convinced that cheer is a sport even after I explain why it is,” Perry said. It takes a lot of willpower and skill to be a cheerleader. No matter what other people say, Perry will always keep her opinion on the matter and say that cheer is definitely a sport.
Perry has been doing All-Star cheer before she started on the NDP team. In all-star cheer, they compete in the same way that a high school competitive team competes, but with a couple of different rules. “Both high school competitive cheer and All-Star require a lot of preparation and skill in order to compete and win,” says Perry.
One reason people should consider cheer as a sport is due to the fact that it can be extremely dangerous if not performed correctly. “I used to fly on All-Star cheer and my bases would drop me if they did not get the timing right. They could be one count off and it would mess up the whole stunt,” Perry said. Athletes are thrown in the air up in the air, flyers hit the ground occasionally, and multiple injuries can occur through a season.
Varsity, a national cheer organization, backs up the fact that cheer is most definitely a sport. The website includes multiple lists of facts such as, “It must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass. Stunting… check!” according to the Office of Civil Rights and Women’s Sports Foundation.
One might disagree with the statements and say that cheer is not a sport, when in fact, they have been proven wrong. Cheerleading is dangerous, but with goal driven athletes, anything can be accomplished. Therefore, cheerleading is most definitely a sport.