Cheerleading: What Makes it a Sport?


Erin Bradley

ABOVE: Dublin High’s Varsity Competition Team working hard at practice.

It has been a known argument around the world for years–whether or not Competition Cheer-leading is a sport. Some students at Dublin High say it is a really dangerous sport, and some say that it is just a dangerous hobby. It’s been said by sports analyst Wayne Drehs, from ESPN, that Competition Cheer-leading is very much a sport. According to Fox News, it happens to be the second most dangerous sport in the world.

Like basketball it’s a contact sport, but unlike football, cheerleaders don’t wear padding to protect themselves. This is a physically demanding sport, they just have their bare bodies to depend on, to tumble, jump, dance and most of all, stunting. They’re responsible to catch a person from 10 feet in the air.

One of the popular stunt sequences they use is an Extended Lib Full-down. This is a difficult stunt because the flyer, has to stand on one leg while the 2 bases underneath her hold her foot with just their hands. The back-spot is required to lift as much weight off of the bases hands as possible. Then at the end of the stunt, the flyer does a full-down. This is when they pop up and twist down and the bases and backspots catch the flyer in the cradle position. Not everyone can do this because it requires a lot of strength to hold someone who is almost 100 pounds with just your hands in the air. It’s also difficult because not everyone can balance one leg on the ground, let alone in the air with 2 sets of hands holding you up.

Being a cheerleader doesn’t involve a group of girls prancing around a mat for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This sport involves a lot of athleticism, strength, flexibility, dedication and ambition.  Without these qualities, you wouldn’t be ready to compete on on a Varsity level competition team.

There are some sports that are seasonal, and some that are year-round. This sport in particular is a year-round sport. They train year-round, 4 days a week for 3 hours, training for perfection. They only get one chance to prove what we’re made of, how strong they are and why they deserve to win. They’re not just pom pom shakers on the sideline rooting for their school, if one thing goes wrong during a stunt or during a tumbling pass, no one ever knows what may happen. Competition Cheer-leading is known to have approx. 13 million injuries per year, according to ABC News, 52 percent of those injuries were bruises, concussions, fractures, and cuts.

Students at Dublin High School do not give the cheerleaders enough credit for what it is they do. Most think that they just skip around on the sidelines rooting for our teams, chanting cheers that no one wants to hear. The all inclusive Sideline program is made specifically for girls who want to show school spirit and have strong “Gael Force Pride”. The 2 competition teams have won a total of 3 National titles in that past 2 years. And we’re in progress of getting 3 more this year. The next time you hear something about the competition cheerleaders at Dublin High, remember this, they work hard just as much as any other team at this school, but as the Varsity Competition team always says, “we’re not just a team, we’re a family.”