Persuasive Essay: Cheerleading Is a Sport

Topics: Cheerleading / Pages: 8 (1805 words) / Published: Dec 8th, 2011
Cheerleading started as a male endeavor in 1898, when a University of Minnesota football fan led the crowd in verse in support of their team. It was not until World War II, when men shipped out to war, that women took over. Then cheerleaders came to represent the American ideal of femininity: wholesome apple pie with washboard stomachs, perfect teeth, and flawless complexions. Stereotypes cast them as blond, petite, and impossibly perky. “From its humble beginning cheerleading has blossomed into a competitive athletic activity with a serious image problem” (Forman 52). But today’s post-feminist youth have put a new, diverse face on cheerleading. Cheerleading in America is no longer a matter of waving pom-poms, a cute smile and being overly perky. Calling themselves athletes, not eye candy, cheerleaders are pushing harder for recognition as participants in an official sport. Today, cheerleading involves skills which require the strength of football, the grace of dance, and the agility of gymnastics. Complex maneuvers are performed which challenge the limits of the body. Safety organizations such as the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators were formed to develop safety rules to guide programs in the safe performance of cheerleading gymnastics, which include jumps, partner stunts, pyramids and tumbling. With the risks involved today, cheerleading should receive statewide recognition as a sport.
Opposition to making cheerleading a sport, continually say, cheerleaders are not athletes. Confirmation of this lies in the position paper of Women’s Sports Foundation, "any physical activity in which relative performance can be judged or quantified can be developed into a competitive sport as long as (1) the physical activity includes the above defined elements and (2) the primary purpose is competition versus other teams or individuals within a competition structure comparable to other athletics' activities…Cheerleading in its current format, does

Cited: Coman, Julian. "Cheerleading Is Now Risker than Most Sports: Acrobatic Stunts Are Banned after Scores of Pom-pom Girls End up with Broken Bones." Europe Intellgience Wire. Gale. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. Ebersole, Rene. "Thrills and Spills." Current Science. Gale. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. Forman, Gayle. "Safety Savvy." American Cheerleader Feb. 2001: 51-52. Gale. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. Rondon, Nayda. "Cheer This! Accessories or Athletes? Cheerleaders Are Making a Strong Case for Their Sport." Sports Illustrated for Women 1 Jan. 2001: 97-99. Gale. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.

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