Cheerleading: a real sport

imageBy Erdavria Simpson, Hamilton High School

Cheerleaders always feel that they don’t get recognition, always bringing school spirit to games and school events and still get talked down. From administration in schools to students talking about how they are boring. Some of this might be very constructive but most of it hurts since we are still not seen as a sport.

Cheer takes so much out of so many people. No time for the beach-I have cheer practice, no money in my pocket—I have cheer payments, no money in my mom’s pocket—she just paid for cheer camp. “Hey babe can I see you today?” –from boyfriend, a cheerleader’s answer: “I’m sore and sleepy. Catch me tomorrow.”

Even as I write this I’m in pain sore in a chair because of a stunt accident.

We tried a set it up stunt, which included the flyer, me, jumping over her back spot. No one caught me and I landed hard on my left foot and tore a few ligaments in my ankle. So I’m out for a while, but it’s okay because that’s what happens in cheer.

We work hard, practice rough, and always give 100% to everything we do– from stunts to tumbling dance and cheer; we have to be assertive and diligent. I know all of this from experience, I’ve been cheering for the past four years of my high school career at Hamilton High and each year we have been improving constantly.

Yet throughout those years the criticism of the team has been intense. It’s bad enough cheerleaders already have negative stereotypes of which we recognize and try to change. Television has done absolutely nothing to help change them; our effort in school has been completely undermined. Administration blames cheerleaders for lack of school spirit and instead they compare their high school days to ours, when everything has changed since then.

Students just don’t care about school. This generation looks at school for fun and not for education, they would rather chill with their friends than attend or support a pep rally. By trying out to become a cheerleader and effect change it is clear that we understand the lack of school spirit in our high schools.

Students tend to degrade cheer efforts just by spreading false rumors, or constantly complaining about how we are not awesome or don’t do enough “poppin’ cheers.” Our football players say that we don’t support them enough, but while they are on the field we are on the track. If they are playing and it starts to rain we are cheering in the rain.

And then there are the few who make cheer worthwhile, besides the connections you make with other girls and getting cheer sisters, and seeing work effort get paid off in the end with great dances and cheers. You make new friends, get to know and understand your school with a deeper connection by seeing how you could change it and make it better.

So I’m still a cheerleader and always enjoy cheering, dancing, and encouraging a crowd or team with and without recognition—recognition just helps.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

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