Top Social

.

A little bit of this and that

Image Slider

A Letter from a Cheerleader

5 May 2016


For the past couple of years I have been heavily involved in the sport of cheerleading, as a member of the university competitive team for both seasons 2014-15 and 2015-16. It is a sport that I have fallen head over heels for and as I competed for the last time a couple of months ago, I was genuinely upset to be leaving it behind, as my time at university comes to an end.  However, throughout my time, I have been exposed to the negative connotations and associations of the sport; most recently I was involved in a dispute with a woman via Facebook (I know, really?) who had decided to voice her opinions and disgust over our university team. After much deliberation, I have decided to write this, for anybody to read: cheerleader or not, to give a real insight into our sport and to explain just why exactly it's time that the stereotypical "cheerleader" image needs to be put to bed.

Over my 2 years in the sport, I have learned the true definition of a "team". I've learned to apply patience, strength and focus in ways that other sports have never asked me to. I've learned to be brave, have faith in my team, all whilst having the greatest of times with some of the best people that I've ever met. We are cheerleaders. We are not girls standing on the sidelines waving pom poms at boys, aiming to please - we're anything but. We stunt. we jump, we tumble. We train harder and then even harder again. We take the fall, we take the hits. Broken bones? Concussions? We've been there and we've seen it all before. Not what you thought? That's the thing; the hyper-sexualised portrayal of cheerleading couldn't be further from the truth.

A couple of weeks ago, the World Cheerleading Championships took place, showcasing the best of the best from countries across the world. However, unless you're directly involved in the sport, it's very unlikely that you'd even heard of it before. It might seem like I'm preaching to a deaf crowd but hear me out - cheerleading deserves recognition. It's a sport that involves a serious amount of dedication and hard work, there's no ifs or buts about it; throwing multiple stunts several feet it the air   followed by a few tumble passes doesn't come easy. Throw a couple of jump sequences into the mix and a couple more stunts? Well you get the idea.

Cheerleaders are the underdogs of the athletic world - we aren't taken seriously but we've still got some of the strongest, most flexible and fittest players in the game. With cheerleading currently under consideration for status as an olympic sport, it's time that it is truly recognised for what it is. If you're still unsure or unconvinced altogether, please watch this video of just one of this year's winning teams and believe me when I say that while they make everything look easy, it most certainly isn't.

Cheerleading has become one of my all time favourite sports. It's a sport that has taught me a lot and has allowed me to meet some incredible people. Whilst I could probably write another thousand words to try and show you everything that the sport means to me, I hope that this post has given you a small insight into just what it is that we do and the reasons why cheerleading is a sport that needs to be recognised. I know I can never address everything and that trying to shift the negative connotations and hyper-sexualised image of cheerleaders and cheerleading itself isn't a one man job,
but with every bit of recognition, it gets that little bit easier.

Until next time,

xo