The Risk and Reward of Cheerleading

Briana Hemingway, Staff Reporter

For all the obvious reasons cheerleading is a very dangerous, very injury-prone sport. This sport requires an extreme amount of physical strength (for the stunts our squad performs), and mental strength as well.

Even if your opinion is that cheer is not a sport it is. Just because we are not throwing a ball across a field does not mean we do not work as hard as you or even harder. We throw girls flip them and everything you can think of, with the possibility of the bases getting hurt in the process. We also do many many flips and jumps individually which can all turn into torn muscles (if we do not stretch right), broken bones, and as we all know concussions.

Sometimes we just land wrong and bad things happen. If the flyer just is not in their right mind that day and has to bail on on stunt, it can be very hard to catch which often ends up in them getting hurt or hurting the people below them.

Cheerleading is not about the uniform. It is about hard work and dedication along with many other factors. I know that sounds cliche but it is very true. In my years of cheer leading I have seen others experience broken bones, torn muscles, concussions, and dislocated fingers and elbows. You become used to it after a while and it does not affect you. Most of those incidents are followed by wailing because they know they are probably out for the season.

Gymnastics is a very big part of cheer leading as well which is one of the many sports that are dangerous as well. Getting the courage to flip backwards and forward and maybe even throw in a spin while doing one is a lot of work. We all experience mental blocks which does effect the whole team.

The hardest part of cheer is that if you are on the team, you are needed for every part of it. There are no breaks at all. If there is a teammate who is injured that is tough luck for the team and they better hope that they can adjust their whole routine without that person in it. When a cheer team is usually developed the coach has in mind all their positions and usually does not have a “second string” set of team members (not everyone can be a flyer, for instance). So there are no people to just sub in if anything happens. Kinda ironic that cheer is one of the most dangerous sports.

Doing a fast-paced two-minute and thirty second routine with perfect tumbling and stunts and facials all while possibly getting hurt in the process, really helps you become a mental and physically stronger person every time you do it. It builds up endurance and strength as well as practicing how to multitask. It seems so easy for outsiders looking in but it is not. Also the physical conditioning… we all hate it but it does help us in the end to be less tired after a full-out routine.

Not to mention us standing in freezing cold weather through a whole football game doing cheers is definitely a way to train you body to be able to stay in cold weather for a long period of time and not show how miserable you are, also starting off the weekend with a sore throat.

From the beginning of the season we have to make our own routine which is not the hardest part. One of the hardest parts are figuring out what qualities you new team has so you can highlight that in the routine while trying to follow the rubric and please the judges. Personally the hardest part of cheerleading is getting a routine together and performing it to a whole crowd, judges and your coach and trying your hardest to pull out a full routine.