By Chloe Marrapese
When people think of cheerleading, they think of something like this: “I’m sexy, I’m cute, I’m popular to boot. I’m b——, great hair the boys will love to stare. I’m wanted, I’m hot, I’m everything you’re not. I’m pretty, I’m cool, I dominate this school!” This kind of stereotype has made cheer, a sport intended to emphasize spirit competition, into something most people scoff at. For many years, cheerleading at Frontier has merely been considered a club, and for years on end the different varsity cheer squads have worked their hardest to prove themselves to both the student body and faculty at Frontier. The fact is, cheerleading is 100% considered a sport. Cheer teams work for everything they earn just like any other sport. The only difference is that this activity, which combines spirit, bruises, blood, sweat and cheer for its performance, may or may not be competitive. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of it being a sport however.
A sport is a physical accomplishment and talent. Each individual or group competes against the other or others. Cheerleaders are athletes that work hard constantly and are committed to the game of cheerleading. Cheerleaders work year-round with less than a month off between seasons. During the summer they attend camps, work on conditioning their bodies, mastering routines, cheers, and chants. Serious injuries can come out of this sport just like any other. In such a high contact sport, it is nearly impossible not to be injured. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. But, cheerleaders do all this to prove the point that cheerleading is a sport and has to be recognized as such.
This year the Frontier squad acquired a supportive addition to our school in the form of a new athletic director who gives fair opportunity to all sports and clubs at Frontier and makes sure to check in and give support. This is something that Mr. Kevin Thompson was also very lucky to have when coaching the cheerleaders at UMASS in the ‘90’s. While talking to Mr. Kevin Thompson, the idea of fair support seemed to be a key idea in the conversation. The cheerleading aspect of sports at UMASS seemed to be very prominent. These cheerleaders performed at a level that made them feel significant, but in order to reach this level, tons of practice was required, and an enormous amount of administrative support.
In the 1800s, cheerleading was meant to be for men only. Women weren’t able to begin a cheerleading team until 1923 in the United States. Since then, cheer has become wildly popular, going from college to high school, to youth cheer, and finally to all-star cheerleading. Traditional cheerleading, included big bows, glitter and rhinestones, skirts, and makeup as the typical and preferred uniform for its participants. Throughout the years, cheerleading started to include and require difficult stunts and harder tumbling skills, parallel to gymnastics. Because of this, cheerleaders started to earn more respect as serious and real athletes, and the new stereotype of cheerleaders who were serious about their craft became, “courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, [and] guts”. The age-old debate concerning the status of cheerleading in our country is still going on today: “Is cheerleading really a sport, or isn’t it?”