Is Cheerleading a Sport? Yay or Nay?

The debate over whether cheerleading is a sport continues to spark conversations among the highly opinionated, but the answer is yet to be clear.

Oxford defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Still, everyone has his or her own definition of a sport.

Sophomore Rachel Stock said, “[A sport is] something that requires physical movement and technique.”

Similarly, senior Dikembe Wilkins said, “It must involve conflict. It doesn’t have to be contact but two teams have to compete. It must have athleticism and some strategy.”

Others, such as Lauren Filipe, a sophomore, said that sports must involve physical activity, competition, and strategy.

“It would have to have skill,” said Colin Kenney, currently a sophomore at CB South. “It would have to have a goal, and it has to be competitive.”

No matter how one defines a sport, most will agree that competition and physical activity are required for any sport.

Cheerleading fits that mold just like any other sport, so why is it so controversial? Many think of cheerleaders as the ones on the side of the football field getting the crowd hyped, but there is more to cheer than that.

The cheer team practices four times a week with tumbling once a week.

Additionally, cheerleaders compete in cheerleading competitions against other squads for the judges’ votes.

Very few will argue against gymnastics being a sport, as it is a major part of the Summer Olympics. In a way, cheerleading is the same thing.

Both sports require flexibility and tumbling. In the most basic form, cheerleading is group gymnastics.

So is cheerleading a sport? “Why not?” said CB South sophomore Michael Nangle. It seems to fit all the requirements.

Although cheerleading seems to fit the definition for a sport, there are still some who beg to differ.

“It’s similar to wrestling on TV; it is more for entertainment,” said Colin Kenney, a sophomore.

Dikembe compared cheerleading to dance, saying, “It’s not a sport– it is an art. There is a difference.”

Even the media cannot decide. According to a USA Today article published last June, the American Medical Association officially considers cheerleading a sport due to the “rigors and risks” involved.

Conversely, a Fox News article from 2010 stated that Federal Court ruled against cheerleading as a sport after the Quinnipiac volleyball team sued the school for spending sports funds on the cheerleading squad.

The articles contradict each other, making the answer less straight forward than most would like, so the debate continues: Is cheerleading a sport?