Identity Tag

What does it mean to be a Cheerleader?

      Sport- an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. When you look up the definition of cheerleading it says "a person who is a member of a group (typically a group of young women) who shout out special songs or chants to encourage the team and entertain the crowd during a game in sports like American football and basketball " This definition gives you the wrong idea, Cheerleaders are not just there for a sports team or to dance around and look cute. Cheerleaders work just as hard as any other sport and practice as much, or more than other sports teams. Being a cheerleader means going to practice almost everyday and working harder each practice, it means working as a group and pushing each other to be the best.

       What does it mean to be a competitive cheerleader compared to a sideline cheerleader? There is two types of cheerleading, competitive and sideline cheer. Competitive cheer requires more dedication while with sideline cheer, the heart of it is to pump up the crowds at school and sporting events. Competitive cheer requires a lot more time, effort and many times, more skills including; jumps, stunting, and tumbling. Also, in competitive cheer you are not cheering for a sports team, you're just playing for yourselves and your team. In sideline cheer they makeup chants and do jumps and little amounts of stunting. Competitive cheer has 80+ stunts and many jumps and have many teams based on skill levels. In a recent study led by Hermann Engels of Wayne State University that included hard days of workouts on treadmills, stationary cycles, and bend-and-reach tests, competitive cheerleaders, “ranked very high in their fitness and strength.” In these tests they measured the girls workout capacity and lean body mass and competitive cheerleaders ranked as well as any top level athlete and showed “superior athletic fitness.” The fitness of sideline cheerleaders was “not very different from that of an average untrained adolescent girl,” further emphasizing the difference between competitive and non competitive cheerleading.

Sideline Cheer Comp. :

Competitive Cheer Comp. :

      What does it mean to be a cheerleader in the 1900's to what its like to be a cheerleader now? In 1903, the University of Minnesota created a “Yell Squad” composed of six males, which led to a male cheer fraternity called Gamma Sigma. Cheerleading had only men until in 1923 women began to dominate the sport during World War II when most of the men left to fight. Once women took over, cheerleading began to incorporate tumbling, stunting and props like the megaphone, and members of the squad were usually voted in by their classmates, now they're picked by coaches based on skill. The first women’s uniforms were ankle-length skirts and varsity sweaters, unlike todays tight short skirts and tank top or even belly showing tops. Although it started out as a male-only activity, before turning into an almost entirely female-based sport, cheerleading is embraced by both sexes and while most cheerleaders are still women (97%), 50% of college squad members are men. Cheerleading has changed very much over the years and I can definitely say its just getting better.


      Being a cheerleader means being a leader for everyone, not just one team at your school, being a cheerleader means getting the crowed pumped and cheering your teammates on and even yourself. To me, a cheerleader is not only a girl in a short skirt, but is a male or female that feels strong in what they're doing, cheerleaders work too hard to be doing it if they don't like it. Being a cheerleader means being part of a team and encouraging others. That to me is what it means to be a cheerleader.


Sideline vs. Competitive: Cheerleaders Discuss the Difference." The Reflection. Samantha Snow, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 27 May 2015.

In this article Samantha discussed the big differences in competitive cheer and sideline cheer. She outlined the fact that sideline cheer is just a stepping stone to competitive cheerleading. She also talks about the difficulty levels of both and how competitive cheer is more like reaching for a goal and sideline cheer is just to keep the crowed hype. I found this would go well with my comparison on the two types of cheer because of the way she describes each and how she and others feel about the two.

"Cheerleader : Athlete." Cheerleader Athlete RSS. N.p., 10 Mar. 2011. Web. 27 May 2015.

This article explained the difficulty in being a cheerleader. It talks about how cheerleaders do work as hard as other sports players and it have attest that proves that. It talks about how much cheerleaders have to work and that it should too be called a sport too. This was helpful when writing my paper because it explains the potential cheerleaders have and how much different it is now then it used to be.

Leesville Middle Cheer Competition 2013." YouTube. YouTube, 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 May 2015.

In this video it shows a middle school cheer team. In most high school and middle school teams this is really a good team compared to many. Many school teams will have little to no tumbling skills and can only do but so many stunts. This video is being compared to the other video in a way that u can see both teams in a competition form. In this video there's a lot of crowed participation and lots of cheer, in the other video you see no cheer just dance, stunting, tumbling, and jumps. This is a perfect credible source to prove the point of how they are different.

World Cup Shooting Stars Worlds 2015." YouTube. YouTube, 25 Apr. 2015. Web. 27 May 2015.

This video is of worlds competitive cheerleading competition this year. This video shows how skilled competitive cheerleaders are and you can tell how hard they work to be that good. This video helps me compare competitive cheer with sideline cheer (the video before this) and allows me to prove my point on the big difference between the two. It shows high level skills and very tight motions. It is a very competitive level and you see the big skills and you can tell how hard they work on them.

"Jim Tunney: Cheerleading Has Changed through the Years." Jim Tunney: Cheerleading Has Changed through the Years. Monterey County Herald, 15 June 2014. Web. 27 May 2015.

In this article it talks all about the changes in cheer. This helps me out a lot when I talked about 1900's to now. It explains how it began with only males and is now composed of both. It also talks about the growth of the stunts and how they've evolved over the years and same with jumps and tumbling. I think its important to understand these things and this website was a very good source.  This website helps better understandthe way cheerleading was formed and why it is what it is today.

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