Is cheerleading a sport? This has been a popular question that has yet to be answered. My answer is “I don’t know and really don’t care”, but to properly address the question a few things need to be pointed out.
- You must separate the question “Is Cheerleading a Sport” from the question “Are Cheerleaders Athletes”. Cheerleaders being athletes is merely a prerequisite of cheerleading being a sport. The answer to “Are Cheerleaders Athletes” cannot define the activity as a sport. The only definitive answer you can get from the question “Are Cheerleaders Athletes” concerning the question “Is Cheerleading a Sport” is NO, and that is if your answer to the former is NO because hopefully we can agree that an activity’s participants must be athletes for the activity itself to be a sport.
- The statements “But its harder than Football” or “We practice more than Basketball” and similar statements mean absolutely nothing in determining whether or not cheerleading is a Sport. Difficulty does not define a sport. Cheerleading could be more difficult than Rocket Science or creating God’s green Earth, but that fact wouldn’t help us determine if the activity is a sport. As far as practicing more than Basketball, I probably sleep more than you or the basketball team practices, but I have yet to see a competitive sleeping contest.
- When determining whether or not an activity is a Sport is it acceptable to separate part of the activity, such as All*Stars, from the remainder? If so, can the part and the whole have different classifications? If not, which part makes the determination?
As far as my thoughts on whether or not cheerleading is a sport I will say if Cheerleading is a sport it falls into the Performance Sport section along with Gymnastics, Figure Skating, Diving and the like. These activities perform and get judged, with the high score announced as the winner. They do not go head to head like many activities the general public considers a Sport. There is no offense or defense. There is no objective winner. There is subjectivity to the results by design.
Let the debate continue.