What is your opinion on cheerleading?
Now, there is a large possibility that your answer would have been negative, and I am about to explain why.
Cheerleading is known to be a sport that people don't actually like calling a sport. In fact, there are many stereotypes surrounding cheerleading that conveys it in a bad light because it seems it doesn’t quite have the same qualities as other sports. People tend to think that cheerleading is just all about young girls waving pom poms in the air while cheering on another sport.
However, these stereotypes are incorrect, and cheerleading is actually a very skilled sport that should have the same appreciation as other sports. As a matter of fact, the only negatives within cheerleading are the stereotypes that have been created through watching Netflix shows and American movies that convey it in that light.
Cheerleading is a sport that can only be done through teamwork which opens you up to a lot of friendships and social activities. Most people think it doesn’t involve much intense physical activity, whereas it actually works hard on every single part of your body. Lifting people above your head and throwing them in the air as well as tumbling/flipping all requires a lot of strength. The jumps that are also involved in the routines require a lot of flexibility and doing all those things for two minutes straight is intense cardio.
There are also a lot of dangers within cheerleading, just like there are in any other sport. In fact, there is a big risk within cheerleading in that these athletes need to put trust in each other to stop them from getting hurt. This means that a cheerleading team is full of people who want to be there no matter the risk all because they love the sport. To me, this is what sport is all about.
Cheerleading has come a long way over the past few years in terms of how big it is. It is now a worldwide sport that compete in all different countries. In 2004, around 14 teams would compete at Cheerleading Worlds, now 500 teams with more than 10,500 athletes compete each year for that first-place trophy.
Because cheerleading is dominantly a US sport, people are brainwashed by what they see in American movies, and they are the ones that have built these stereotypes up and made their own opinion of the sport without looking into it. Cheerleading doesn't have as much coverage as it should in the UK as all the worldwide competitions are not shown on television and need to be streamed at an expensive cost.
The only documentary style show that has wide exposure is the Netflix show "Cheer" which has gotten a lot of coverage, with roughly 29.1 million hours viewed. The fact that there has been so much success in showing the reality of cheerleading in this documentary, it just shows that if they got more of an opportunity to present the sport in the UK, these stereotypes might just die down and it might become more respected.