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Is cheerleading a sport?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by ArtesiaBuckDog, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. ArtesiaBuckDog

    ArtesiaBuckDog Your next American Idol

    Okay, I'm looking to get some opinions on this topic from a portion of the population that isn't bleached-blonde and borderline anorexic.

    As a sports editor, I've been having some problems lately with the local cheerleading squad, their sponsors, parents, etc. It's over the usual question: "Is cheerleading really a sport?" This has happened to me in the past....I'll be at a basketball game and some cheerleader's parents will come up and ask me when the cheerleaders are going to get some coverage in the paper. I always told them "Just let me know when their next game is and I'll be there," and that usually shut them up. But they've gotten more persistent lately, so I'm trying to decide what I should do about it.

    To me, cheerleading is NOT a sport. Cheerleading is an activity. Is it an athletic activity? Sure it is. But that's the key phrase: "athletic ACTIVITY." Jogging is an athletic activity, yet I don't have joggers coming in asking me if I'm going to put how many miles they ran yesterday, what their heart rate was and how many calories they burned in the paper. Things are more complicated now, though, since the cheerleaders started attending "competitions" and even went so far as to invent a state cheerleading competition they seem to think is on a par with the state HS football playoffs.

    Now they think that the fact that they compete is justification that they're a sport. They attend one, MAYBE two "competitions" a year, and let's not fool ourselves. They're basically giant social functions where the girls trade makeup and hair tips and the parents congratulate themselves on how popular and pretty their daughters are. In between, the girls go out on a gym floor, toss each other up in the air a few times, clap, fling their hair around and yell. But they say they are clapping, flinging and yelling in competition with the other clappers, flingers and yellers to see who reigns supreme in those areas.

    My argument here is that yes, you are technically competing, but lots of other people compete and that still doesn't make what they're doing a sport. Chess is a good example.

    I'm actually of the belief that any activity, athletic or otherwise, that involves judges is not a sport. When your fate is in the hands of a completely separate, outside group of people with personal biases, etc., then your athleticism isn't solely and directly determining whether you win or lose.

    I'm posing this question because the cheerleaders have a public exhibition tonight they think I am supposed to attend. It's a rehearsal of the routine they're planning on doing at the state competition (another reason I think it's not a sport - there's no uncertainty, other than what if I drop Brittany on her ass, and no spontaneity; they memorize their routine and duplicate it), and they've informed me that it is my duty since they are a sport to attend this event, take photographs and interview all of them before they blast off for state in a few weeks.

    There is pretty much nothing I would rather do less, but I am at a loss as to how to get out of it. If I tell them I don't think they're a sport, all hell will break loose. If I tell them to take their own pictures and bring the information in and I'll publish it, all hell will break loose, and if I tell them I'll do it but give it to the Society Editor rather than clog up the sports pages with it, all hell will break loose. I think I'm in a lose-lose situation but I'm still open to suggestions if anybody has any.
  2. Basebuck

    Basebuck In Texas..

    I disagree with your judges comment and routine thing. Gymnastics is very similar and I would definitly consider it a sport, so that argument might not work for you. I do agree with you though that there is no way that cheerleading is a sport. If cheerleading is a sport you would also have to consider the people in Block O athletes competing in a sport. Just rediculous.
    The best argument that I can think of would be is saying that "our policy is to judge what is and is not a sport by going by what the olympic credential are for said sport." That way you are going by the international definition of what a sport is.
  3. buckiprof

    buckiprof 21st Century Buckeye Man Staff Member

    Be firm in your position. Cheerleading is not a sport, but an athletic activity. I tend to agree with your view of if it is judged then it is an activity not a sport. We have all probably participated in pickup games of basketball, football, baseball, etc., but has anyone ever heard of a pickup "game" of cheerleading?
  4. ArtesiaBuckDog

    ArtesiaBuckDog Your next American Idol

    Funny you should mention that, the gymnastics instructor just came in and dropped off results, as well. :lol: I've just got a very set definition in my mind of what a sport is. If there isn't somebody in front of you that you're competing with, an actual opponent who you have to athletically best and who can play a major role in whether you accomplish your goal or not, I can't call it sport. Judges, like I said, can be biased and all sorts of other crap. If you're being judged, you're being judged on somebody's perception of your athletic ability as an individual in an activity or an event setting.

    Here's a beauty, though. The cheerleaders have a message board I've been perusing over the past few weeks, checking out their comments on why they think they're a sport. Here's an excerpt:

    "I think it is a sport a lot more than other so called sports are. Football for example is basically just an excuse for guys to jump on eachother and knock eachother over. There really aren't any skills required for anyone except the receiver and qb, everyone else just blocks everyone else. Now cheerleading is definitley a sport compared to that. To be able to do stunts, like all the back hand springs and flips in gymnastics takes a lot of flexibility and leg muscle. Everyone on the team has to be strong to do the routines so it is definitley a sport."

    Oi freaking vey. :lol:
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2004
  5. Basebuck

    Basebuck In Texas..

  6. BuckNutty

    BuckNutty Hear The Drummer Get Wicked Staff Member Bookie

    Good grief, I think the bleach soaked into that chick's brain. I'd consider shopping more of a sport than cheerleading. Serious shoppers have good stamina, strategy, footwork, vision and have to use an occasional stiff arm. Walk through a Target on Christmas Eve and then watch a cheerleading competition. No contest. Cheerleading is not a sport.
  7. buckiprof

    buckiprof 21st Century Buckeye Man Staff Member

    I do not envy you artesiabuckdog. My definition of a sport is in line with yours and I don't know how I would handle the situation you are in. Where do you think the cheerleading crowd would draw the line at what is a sport? I don't think the aerial stunt stuff that has been added to the Winter Olympics is a sport (since it is judged) but there is no doubt that the competitors are extremely athletic. You may be in a lose-lose situation. I guess if it were me, I wouldn't cover it all and let them bitch.
  8. ArtesiaBuckDog

    ArtesiaBuckDog Your next American Idol

    :rofl: Nice. Can I quote you on that, dude? :lol:

    I wish I knew where they'd draw the line. I brought up the chess thing to one of them and they said there was "no comparison" between a board game and cheerleading. I told them to tell that to a chess player and see what they thought and then get back to me. :lol: They aren't satisfied that I'm not denying that the girls are, to an extent, athletic. The dancing part they can stuff, but I suppose if they didn't train and learn how to throw each other around the right way, there could be some serious problems. :lol: They've just got a serious inferiority complex that they need to put in perspective. They're athletic in the sense that anybody who exercises or does aerobics or any other physical activity is athletic. But would they like to attend a practice session with the football or basketball team and see how hard they think their practices are after that?

    As for just not going, unfortunately small-town politics start to come into play there. Small town, small newspaper, if I don't go, they come down here and bitch to the owner and the editor and tell them they're going to cancel their subscriptions or some crap, and then the owner fears losing some change and comes down on me....if I lived in a bigger town, believe me, I'd have no problem telling them where to get off and then writing a column about it the next day.
    BuckNutty likes this.
  9. buckiprof

    buckiprof 21st Century Buckeye Man Staff Member

    I understand the difficulties of the small-town, small paper scenario. It is too bad, because to be a complete smart-ass about the whole situation, you could ask the debate team (who undoubtedly enters competitions) to debate whether or not cheerleading is a sport and you could have coverage of the debate.
  10. Basebuck

    Basebuck In Texas..

    If I were you I would write an editorial explaining your views and encourage feedback. If the majority of the small town considers it a sport your hands are tied but I cant imagine that being the case.
  11. BuckeyeInTheBoro

    BuckeyeInTheBoro This space left intentionally blank


    I agree with the majority here. Athletic chicks competing in something that is not a sport.
  12. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    As usual it is all about definitions.

    NASCAR? Bowling? Darts? Can any of those guys walk the length of the gym floor on their hands? Do a backwards handspring from a standing start?

    Archery? Shooting? Badminton? Table Tennis? Want to tell any of the 'Olympic Athletes' participating in Athens this year that those are not sports?

    Can any of the members of this board take a good run and do about 8 or 10 consecutive somersaults? How many member would get their butts kicked if they tangled with any of the male cheerleaders on the OSU squad?

    What would be the harm in relaxing your definition of 'sport' a bit?

    Give the young ladies a break and write a nice article for your readers. Besides, if you are nice to them it may come back to you in a few years. (Ever take a roll in the hay with a girl who could walk on her hands?)
  13. Buckeye69


    I would think cheerleading is a sport when a cheerleading squad is competing in a competition against another cheerleading squad. If the practice and the games are considered primarily for the preparation for the cheerleading competition and not for entertainment at the game, then it is a sport - if not, its just eyecandy for the fans (if the cheerleaders aren't fugly, of course). NFL cheer and dance squads usually fit into the eyecandy category, most high school squads usually fall into the fugly category- IMHO.
  14. BuckBackHome

    BuckBackHome Wolverine is largest member of weasel family

    Coming from someone whose local high school just won a state championship, I will give you my two cents.

    Cheerleading is not a sport.

    Competitive Cheer is a sport.

    I wasn't convinced until I saw a presentation by the cheer team coach when she came in to speak to our Rotary club. I would say it is a sport. The focus is competition against another cheer team, not just supporting another team (football) playing a game. I see them as two completely different activities, and only cheer team as a sport. Plus, the young ladies who do it here really have their stuff together.

    Oh yeah, how the heck does bowling qualify as a sport?
  15. BIATCHabutuka

    BIATCHabutuka out of chaos comes playoffs

    throw them a bone (as opposed to slip them the...) and cover the damn thing just to shut them up. remember you need to sell papers and the chicks and their relatives will all buy the paper and so will all the young high school boys that need some 'reading material' for the bathroom. just be sure to take a good photog with you.

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