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The “Reality” of Cheerleading
Written by Clare Sohn | Published. 2021.11.20 09:35 | Count : 500


[Seoul Foreign School cheer team in 2019 performing for their homecoming routine.Photo Courtesy of Clare’s mom.]

Most people view “cheerleading” as not a sport as it is thought to be simply cheering for a basketball or football team. The debate on whether cheer is a sport or not has been an ongoing conflict as most of the world does not know what the “other side” of cheer really is.


Personally, I never even saw cheer as a sport until two years ago when I started cheering at my high school. I believe that it is important that we shed light on the sport and break the  misconceptions about it not being a sport.


To start off, cheerleading is not all about the pom poms and cheering for teams. Yes, that is an aspect of cheer but, all-star cheer is a completely different world. In fact, they don’t even cheer for teams, and rather, they compete against other cheer teams.


Consisting of jumps that require you to be extremely flexible, dangerous stunts that require hours of practice, and insane tumbling skills, cheer is a sport of high physical exertion. Many would say that cheerleading has many parallels to other activities that are considered sports such as gymnastics, and dance.


A fun fact is that cheerleading actually has one of the highest injury rates due to their dangerous stunts and tumbling. Within the past couple years, a show that highlights the reality of cheer, called "Cheer", aired on Netflix .


It features Navarro College’s cheer team which is considered one of the best collegiate teams worldwide as they have won 13 national championships and five grand national championships.


The show takes the viewers on the hard work that goes on behind-the-scenes to end up with a perfect routine that could be competed to possibly win a championship. 

After entering the world of cheer around a couple years ago, I have come to realize that cheerleading is probably one of the hardest sport in the world as you yourself have to work as you are a part of a whole picture.

Without one person’s work, the team is incomplete as cheerleading is a very team-dependent sport. Throughout the years, my favorite team has been a team called Senior Elite looking up to a member, Ryan Cummings. Most commonly known for her high skill of being a tall yet gracious flyer (the person performing the stunt in the air) as well as her sassy facial expressions, people call her “a cheer goddess”.

In an interview with Varsity (cheer organization), she said that there had been multiple instances where she almost quit cheer due to the hate that she received , yet she continued as she believes that cheer is a sport regardless of what anybody says. But unfortunately, it will be her last year in all-star cheer as she is a senior. 

As a result, I strongly feel that there should be an immediate break to the deceptions created in the sport of cheer as it is a sport. On July 20th of 2021, so this past summer, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted in favor of granting full recognition to the International Cheer Union (ICU), making it eligible to be included in the Olympics program.


Hence, we can see that progress is being made; however, I believe it is important to look at the “other side of cheer” and ignore  the rumors. 


In conclusion, I hope that the divine thinking between “cheer” and “sports” can be broken down to fully accept cheerleading as a sport. Hopefully, if you always thought that cheer isn't a sport, you can now change your answer to “yes! It is a sport for sure!”













Clare Sohn

Grade 11

Seoul Foreign School

Clare Sohn  hsr@dherald.com

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