Is cheerleading a sport?

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Photo by Matt Hamilton

A controversial question in the sports world is asked constantly:  “Is cheerleading a sport?” Yes, it is a sport because the team practices just like any other sport does. They have routines just like any other team has plays, and there is always a possibility that there will be broken bones just like any other team does.

The beginning of organized cheerleading began in the late 18th century and was all male. The first documented cheer team started February 22, 1877, by Princeton University. Their first cheer they had was, “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-!” In 1923, the University of Minnesota first admitted women into cheerleading. Woman cheerleaders were overlooked until the 1940’s. They were overlooked until then because that was when the World War II started and all of the men got drafted for war. After that, the girls “took over” the cheerleading sport because that was considered a feminine occupation after all the males left. The male occupation was war.  Although cheerleading started off as a male occupation, it isn’t popular for males to be on the cheerleading squad in high school now. It is completely normal to have a male cheerleader on a college team though. The routines for now-a-days are so much different from back then. Now they throw people up in the air, they tumble, and they shout cheers. The new routine Friday has all of this in one cheer, “The new routine for Friday’s pep rally is hard, but I think it will be very good in the end because our stunts are awesome!” said Hannah Smelcer (11).

Every team needs a coach to help guide them and keep them on track. Coaching seems harder than it sounds. In coaching they have to make the routine, teach the routine, and make sure the cheerleaders know what all to do with the music and routine. Mrs. Starla Russell is the coach for this years cheerleading team and she says, “I loved my first year coaching because of the girls I got to coach. These girls made my job so easy. The biggest thing that I’m changing for next year is that there will be one team instead of two teams. The routine is one minute and thirty seconds long “mini-competition routine”. Also, having a daughter and coaching the team will better prepare me for her teen aged years!” said Starla Russell, Cheer Coach.


“I joined cheer-leading because my parents encouraged me to join and I stuck with it and eventually started to enjoy is and now I enjoy it and enjoy watching the game!” said Jami Howard (10).

“I feel like the basketball cheer squad is a family. Whenever anyone is having a bad day, we are all there to pick each other up. We are all like sisters and I Love them all!” said Sydney Simpson (12).