For Good Cheer!

On the TUNNEYSIDE OF SPORTS June 16, 2014 #493 Up next…For Good Cheer!

After further review…Is cheerleading a sport? That energetic art has been around almost as long as sport itself. In the beginning, before the choreographed squads wearing varsity-letter sweaters appeared, there were guys and gals basically  jumping up and down and hollering for their T*E*A*M. But oh my, how that instinct has developed.

Pretty girls with shapely legs and exuberant boys with megaphones (remember those?) have evolved into tight-knit performing athletic maneuvers that require serious training and conditioning, exposing them to risks never dreamed of by the raccoon-cap-and-saddle-shoes crowd.   Many believe today’s cheerleaders are not getting the respect they deserve.

“I think it should be considered a sport,” said Kristine Durfee, the cheer coach at Red Bluff (CA) High School. “They take tumbling classes and gymnastics. They are athletes, and are required to perform like athletes.” Desiree Turner, cheer coach at Oakland (CA) High School, agrees. “They practice year-round and put in as much work as a football or basketball player,” she said. “They do stunts. I require them to go to cheerleading camp so they can learn how to do it safely. We do lots of fundraising so they can go to camp”.

Well, the ‘sport’ has certainly changed from a few girls who dance in short skirts with pom-poms, with or without music, to today’s gymnastic drill teams inciting the crowd to yell and scream for their players on the field or court. (By the way, how come we don’t see cheerleaders at baseball games, tennis matches or swim meets?)

Now steps up the AACCA (American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators) to declare its parameters by stating ”Cheerleading does not meet the requirements of being a sport because the primary purpose is not competition; it’s raising school unity at athletic functions”. Most state interscholastic federations do not sanction cheerleading.

In the meantime The Tunneyside admires the school spirit generated by young men and women who make the effort to provide positive school climates. That enthusiasm is contagious and can affect the entire student body. My experience has shown me that these activities give every student a sense of pride in their school. Further, the value of any group working together can serve each participant in life’s future endeavors.

Will you log-in on whether cheerleading is a sport?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Be sure to get Jim’s new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” here!


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