Dana Pensabene Mr. Ford- English 015 Definition July 8, 2011 Their hair tightly pulled back. Their razorbacks, drenched in sweat. They all go up, but most crash right back down. Broken noses, bloody knees, concussions, sprained ankles, black and blues everywhere, and knots up and down their spines. Half of them have their wrists wrapped; cutting off circulation; to support the human that they are about to elevate ten feet high in the air. Girls gripping their own toes above their heads, and their feet next to their faces. It’s Cheerleading.
A club? I tend to doubt cheerleading is a club, but that is what it has been considered for years. Competitive cheerleading at Northern Valley Old Tappan High School has been receiving the minimal credits that a ‘club’ offers. The credibility that athletes get for participating in a sport is much more respected and deserved than those of a club. Colleges see the amount of credits a varsity athlete gets, as well as an active club member. Though, a varsity athlete receives more credits. To be a Varsity athlete, you must participate in a sport.
That I do, yet I receive the amount of credits as a club member would. So, Mr. Kachele, I’d like to offer you a definition of a sport because you must be misinformed as to what a sport constitutes. A sport is a psychical activity that requires talent, physical agility, dedication, time, a team and/or a coach. It also is governed by a set of rules, requires practice and is often competitive, yet occasionally played for recreation. Cheerleading fits under all of these categories but is still considered a club at Northern Valley High School.
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I suppose that what cheerleading once was; a ditzy, delicate, stand by activity for rowdy young teen girls; was considered a club, but that makes sense. Then, cheerleading was by no means a ‘sport’. Current day cheerleading is entirely different… at least at Northern Valley. Having five varsity letters under my belt, and two seasons as Captain, I can vouch for all competitive cheerleading squads, including ours here at Northern Valley, that cheerleading should not be considered just a ‘club’. For our school, we do not only have one season to endure, but we have nine months.
From the middle of August, we train for the football games. During the football season, we have at least a three-hour practice daily so we are prepared for our competitions. A competition has a certain number of teams to showcase their routines, and there is a first place winner. During these competitive few months, the cheerleaders are not only engaging in their own sport, but are also cheerleading for the basketball teams. To be non-sexist, we cheerlead for both Boys Varsity Basketball and Girls Varsity Basketball.
That requires at least three games a week, at least one competition a weekend, and the rest of the days reserved to practice. Yet, we get the same amount of credits that the chess club and the photography club receive. As an active member in the Peer Mentor Club, Italian Club, Hand in Hand Club, and the Art Portfolio Club, I can honestly say what cheerleading requires does not measure up to all of these clubs combined together. When many of the people, who think cheerleading is not a sport, try to argue their point… they make very hackneyed arguments.
The opposing side usually brings up things including how cheerleading does not use any type of ball, so how could it be a sport? But that argument is a bit idiotic because in no definition of the word ‘sport’, does it say a sport requires usage of a ball. Another frequent idiotic argument is that cheerleading is not considered a sport because there is no winner. But, when we go to cheerleading competitions, there is a winner. There is also a second and third place team. The most frequently used argument is that cheerleading cannot be a sport because all we do is cheer for another sport.
That would make sense, if that were all we did. We consider the games as practices for our competitions. They are also our chances to flaunt the skills we have acquired over the season to our school and excite the fans during games. What these opposing arguers do not realize is that there is a new competitive face of cheerleading. Like other sports, cheerleaders have to follow the regulations that are set for them. While we cheerlead at a football or basketball game, we need to have mats down on the hardwood floor if any stunt requires the girls to throw and let go of the flyer (the girl thrown in the air).
Our uniforms must always cover our mid-section, our dance moves cannot be provocative, for obvious reasons, and we must wear our hair pinned back because it is dangerous to stunt with hair in your face… in contrary to what is seen in most of the cliche cheerleading movies. We also can’t perform certain dangerous stunts requiring a flyer’s head to be upside down during competitions because in the National Cheerleading Association, it is considered illegal.
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