5 things to know about Cheerleading
What comes to mind when you think of cheerleading? High school? American films? Being popular and having pom poms maybe? Well, think again because cheerleading stunt teams are none of that.
- No pom poms!
I know! That’s just absurd, right? When you grow up watching shows like One Tree Hill or the Disney film High School Musical you assume that cheerleading means picking up your pom poms and going to cheer for the boys football team. On the occasional events such as Varsity, pom poms may be permitted however on a cheerleading stunts team the only thing that you’re picking up is your flyer after she almost drops out of the air when you were thinking how easier and lighter it would have been if you were just lifting pom poms!
2) It is a real sport!
Despite not officially being considered as a real sport, cheerleading surely fits the criteria and can be compared to other sports. The definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” So you mean, when I use strength and power to perform a tic-toc to scale (I’ll come back to that) in order to win an upcoming British Cheerleading Association Championship? Sure sounds like a sport to me! The effort, physical strength, and mental endurance that all goes into ensuring that you and your team perform to the best of your ability is a skill that deserves admiration.
3) Competitions are intense!
Waking up at 5 am, traveling to different cities for 3 hours, not performing until about 4 pm and then for the results to be announced at 10 pm to reach home at 2 am can be counted as exhausting and intense! Despite that, when performing at the cheerleading competition, you must be able to fight and push through! In cheerleading there are specific rules. During a performance a cheerleader is not permitted to exit the stage under any circumstances. A breach of this rule would result to the team performing without the cheerleader. Meaning that, if there comes a reason which causes your team to start again you are unable to restart/perform with them. That means a critical decision must be made, whether you are about to collapse, vomit, or even if your hair is about to fall out, you must make the decision whether to fight through or if it is best to exit the mat.
4) A new language!
When cheering for the first time, you learn new terminology which is like cheer language. First of all, you forget to count as the only numbers you need are one, three, five and seven. Second, of all, terminology such as tic-toc, scale, and arabesque are terms used to describe the movements in your team and they are what defines your routine. There are also names for positions such as bases which are those that stand opposite to lift the flyer which is the literal one flying and the back spot which like a base supports the flyer but from a different angle.
5) Still cheering like Omi!
Like Omi in his song said, “she is always right there when I need her”. That’s exactly what cheerleading consists of. Supporting one another, through the falls and the injuries but also through the encouragement of achieving what might seem as a difficult goal. Cheerleading is more than just a sport as it a way to challenge yourself and to apply commitment and discipline.