Cheerleading: More Than a Sport!
By Kyleen, age 16, Arizona
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Cheerleading at our school, and at many others, is more than a sport or extracurricular activity. We have our daily practices, just like football or basketball. We have physical activity that's dangerous, like building (normally, one or two cheerleaders holding a cheerleader up in the air). We have regular school fundraising for our squad. We are pretty much a normal sports team on that level.
But cheerleaders are also often held to much higher standards than other athletes. At my school our coach is very strict and specific about how all of us behave. As with most teams or squads, in order to cheer and stay on the squad you have to maintain passing grades. At practices we can't have any jewelry, make up, spaghetti strap tops, and we have to wear the tennis shoes we bought as a team. Every Thursday is our uniform day; if we don't show up at school in full uniform we don't cheer at that week's game. If we have no clothes to change out into for two practices we don't cheer that week and we're benched. If we are benched two games in a row, no matter what the reason for the benching, or we just don't show up for the games, we are off the squad. If we miss practice three times without a parent's or doctor's excuse we are off the squad. My coach laid this all out for us and more.
We have to hold ourselves very proper in order to stay on the team. We have to be held to high standards because we are cheerleaders. I always hear from people, "Oh, cheerleaders don't have to do anything; they just stand and look pretty at games." That's very wrong! Cheerleading is an in and out of uniform responsibility. When in uniform you are held to high standards because you are representing the school. Out of uniform you are represent yourself, the coach, and your whole squad.
Cheerleader responsibilities aren't restricted to games and practice. Being a cheerleader is an every minute of every day sport. You represent your school, which is a high honor to do. Cheerleaders have a lot on their shoulders. They have to be careful what they say, when they say it, who they say it to, and what they do. One wrong action or word can make you lose everything in cheerleading. I'm proud of being on my school's squad. It's so much fun and I love all of my fellow girls. Your cheer squad becomes your family, and you become theirs.
There's a lot to cheerleading, but is an amazing experience. If you have ever had an interest in it, why not give it a try? It's always good to try something new. And for you "retired" cheerleaders, it's always nice to get back into it! Cheering is fun, and you build many lifelong friends by being on a squad.