Beyond the Big Bows and Pom Poms

No Room for Confusion: Cheerleading is a Sport

Caitlin Hoy, Staff Writer

Shake. Shake. My arms wobble as they are stretched high above my head holding up 100 pounds of body weight.

Re-adjust footing.

My eyes are locked on the flyer. I don’t know when or where she is going to fall.

At cheer practice, my thoughts are consumed with keeping the flyer in the air and not letting herFullSizeRender 3 drop to the floor.

This role, along with jumps, tumbling and choreography, make up a typical cheer practice.

Not unlike sports such as football, soccer and baseball, cheerleading requires a significant amount of teamwork and training.

However, when people think about high school sports, cheerleading does not fall into that category.

The stereotypical cheerleader is described as simply holding the pom poms and wearing the cute uniforms — but we have a bigger job than that.

Countless hours spent working on routines for games and competitions leave cheerleaders sore and beat up with bruises. The aftermath of a workout stays with a cheerleader for days.

The squad has similar levels of competition and physical demands as those recognized as KSHSAA sports. The amount of risk for injuries is higher than the majority of most sports.

For example, we currently have 20 percent of our squad injured due to tumbling and stunting accidents.

Since these accidents involve falling from high levels the recovery is often longer and more intense.

Cheerleading goes beyond attending games and memorizing words to a chant: blood, sweat and tears are a requirement for a cheerleader.

Cheerleading is a sport.