Term Paper

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Alexa Pezza
English 10H
Mrs. Meagher
21 May 2012
Cheerleading
It’s just cheerleading. The simple three words I hear on a day to day basis from those hardheaded jocks. Unfortunately, those guys only get to see the clean cut routines and the happy smiles and all the excitement, never the blood, sweat and tears during practice when we have to throw a 120 pound girl flying through the air, and catch her with nothing but a smile on our face. Cheerleading isn’t just about sideline, that’s like our practice, competition is where it matters. To all those who say, it’s not a sport there’s no score”, come to a competition, your flyers foot touches the ground automatic point reduction. Cheerleading has been around since the early 1900’s, and has been growing ever since. Cheerleading is a sport and always has been. It’s mainly the boys, who tend to tell us cheerleaders that cheerleading in fact isn’t a sport. How would you feel if I told you during University of Minnesota football game in November 1898, Mr. Johnny Campbell led the entire crowd in a series of cheers and that’s what started it all? Cheerleading slowly gained acceptance at football games during its formative years. Back in the 20th century, cheerleading was not all about the preppy little school girl it is today, cheerleaders were exclusively male. However, around World War two (1939-45) women started to displace the men who were involved in the war effort. Periodically through the 1950’s, female cheerleaders began showing up more and more on television and in magazines (Cheerleading). This created an even higher demand for cheerleading, leading to the development of clinics, organized by groups like the National Cheerleading Association(NCA), created by Lawrence Herkimer, where they conduct workshops to teach cheering skills to young cheerleaders (Milestones in the history of cheerleading). As cheerleading grew more in popularity, people began to question whether or not cheerleading should even be considered a sport or not? With that question up in the air, it came clear around 1970’s, that no sports analysts considered cheerleading to be a sport (Is cheerleading a sport?). Later on, cheerleaders took a stand and wanted to prove to everyone that it wasn’t just about standing on the sideline cheering on some popular men’s sports team, cheerleaders were athletes and they were ready to be recognized. “People need to get passed the idea that cheerleading is shaking pompoms and kicking our legs in the air,” said Lura Fleece, Maryland’s cheerleading coach (Pennington). Competitive cheerleading is intense and can get very aggressive between the competing teams, even though it may only be a two minutes and thirty seconds routine, you can see the intensity. The athleticism needed to fulfill a competitive cheerleading routine is tremendous. Just picture yourself, standing on a wooden floor taking a 100 pound girl, tossing her in the air as high as you can get her , and her rotating around a vertical axis, or otherwise known as the Helicopter Toss (Glossary of Cheerleading Terms), yeah not as easy as you thought. Dismally, for cheerleading there is no helmet, chin guards, knee pads, or mouth guards, we wear a skirt and a tank top, that’s it. If the two girls standing under the flyer, also known as the bases, don’t catch her, that flyers hitting the ground, and she’s hitting it hard. I understand that many feared that calling cheerleading a sport sent the wrong message to women, due to the fact that cheerleading used to be just girls in tight-fitting outfits that were expected to do little more than yell support for boys (Thomas). Considering, cheerleading has evolved so fast that it is no longer just that, it now requires a complex set of technical skills, stamina, physical fitness and incredible sportsmanship. The dangers that come along with cheerleading are hard to fathom, even making tackling a football player look easy. Once again “when people think about…