Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cheerleading: Is it a Sport?

Judging by the fact that typing cheerleading in this blog window made Google underline it with the red squiggly line, letting me know that it's not a word, this one is going to have a hard time getting called a sport in this space.

Break the word down: Cheer Leading...leading cheers. Cheering happens when there is something good happening, typically on a playing field. So in the absence of another sport or activity worthy of cheers, can cheerleeading exist? There are competitions all over the country, teen movies based on it and hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of girls...and boys who practice and perform without a football game going on in the foreground. That makes it seem like it can stand alone, but it doesn't necessarily make it a sport.

I don't want to take anything away from the people who participate, because the amount of practice it takes to nail a tossing double flip somersault is wildly impressive and absolutely athletic. But at its core, cheerleading is being a coordinated super fan who dances and yells/sings. When your activity loses a ton of meaning and value when it's removed from a supporting act and moved to the forefront, it ain't a sport. 

Verdict: Not a Sport

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