More Than a Sport


Pamela Semple

Cheerleaders, dancers, and gymnasts prove they are more than just a sport. CT cheerleaders hold preps during football season, demonstrating upmost athletic ability. Photo courtesy of Pamela Semple.

Olivia Semple, Staffer

Cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics have been pushed to the side for generations, deemed not worthy of being called a sport. What makes a sport a sport anyway? Is it the competition or athleticism? Or maybe the fact that boys play the most popular games. Boys seem to rule the sports kingdom. However, if you watch one practice of cheer, dance, or gymnastics, you will start to rethink what defines a sport.

The amount of physical power required to do cheer, dance, and gymnastics is crazy. Cheerleaders lift 100 plus pound girls in the air, throw them, and spin them. They also do flips, run, and sweat just as much as any sport. It is a common mistake to consider football the highest contact sport, but that isn’t true. Cheerleading is the most physical contact sport out there, and around 66.7% of all injuries come from cheer. “It takes a lot of flexibility and endurance,” Brooklyn Banks (10) said,” You must be physically and mentally ready.” 

If you look at cheerleaders, gymnasts, and dancers, you will see that their bodies are pure muscle. If they weren’t working hard, where did their abs come from, or those rock-hard biceps? “Sports are defined as a physical activity involving competition and a group or single effort,” Erom Chung (10) said,” The work that those activities take would be ranked at a sports level. The amount of physical work and dedication that goes into these sports is astounding. So much practice, so much time dedicated, to put everything you have on on the mat. 

Dance is becoming a more prominent and more popular form of entertainment and exercise. “Dance is one of the topmost physically demanding adult careers in the real world.” Tyler Lucera (10) said. A professional dancer can make up to 170k a year, and ballerinas can and have made a million in a week. This sport is being demanded more and more by celebrities, movies, and other forms of entertainment.

Professional and college cheer is also taking the world by storm. The new Netflix show Cheer has been changing the minds of its viewers. “It was the challenge that this pervasive and damaging stereotype needed, a moment in which one determined team was able to redefine their sport and give these fierce, athletic competitors the recognition they deserved.” USA Today wrote. 

Cheer, gymnastics, and dance are and are more than just a sport. Yes, these sports are certainly as athletic as others, but there is one difference. They put their heart, their soul, and immense trust in the process it takes to succeed in competitions and at their sport.