Extra-curricular activities, such as sports, have provided youth with opportunities to grow as individuals and discover their identity. Each sport molds you into a different status that shapes your everyday activities and values. Cheerleading, specifically, is one of the most popular sports for females. While the number of males is nowhere near equal to the number of female cheerleaders, it has also challenged society’s social norm of one gender doing a sport at once.
The expectation of cheerleaders is entertainment; however, they are seen as much more. Cheerleaders are expected to bring entertainment value which requires hard work and physical determination, they are expected to set good example and be role models for their peers and younger, aspiring cheerleaders, and they are expected to collaborate and work with whoever need be to get their job done.
Cheerleaders are utilized as primary entertainment for different sporting events. While it’s important that they be able to put on an enjoyable show, they do so at great risk. Cheerleading is one of the most dangerous sports around, proof being that 66.7% of female sports injuries are cheerleading related. The sport is physically draining and highly strenuous, but they make it look easy.
Often times an injury can’t be avoided; for example, when lifting another cheerleader into the air (the flyer), the base cheerleader doesn’t have complete control of the flyer. If the flyer doesn’t pull her weight or execute skills with correct technique, the stunt will fail and risk a serious injury of each person involved. These accidents can put athletes out for an entire season.
Cheerleading also requires mental and emotional strength. Dealing with the responsibilities of your schedule can often put a strain on academics; however, grades are the number one priority. People presume cheerleaders to be grade A students which is how it should be. If they can keep their grades in check and lead with spirit, others will follow suit. It is also assumed that cheerleaders make responsible decisions outside of school and the sport.
They are held to a higher standard than other students and should rise to the challenge. School sporting events is also a key place to inspiring young girls and boys with the sport. Most young girls always show interest in sports like cheer and dance when they are young; now is the time to inspire them!
There is a need to embody certain character traits as a cheerleader. Among those being selfless and a team player. Stunting is a huge part of the sport and it requires that you work together. Stunt groups are put together based on height and muscle strength to create the most efficient stunt group. Cheerleaders do not get a choice of who is in their stunt group; therefore, they must work with who their coach assigns them to. With this, they must put aside any differences and dedicate themselves to making the stunt work for the betterment of the team. It’s their drive and perseverance that creates the success of the team.
In conclusion, cheerleading has been an opportunity for individuals to learn and grow in their identity. It stimulates positive qualities that create hard-working, driven, and committed young adults. Ultimately, they entertain by preforming dangerous routines with ease, they influence their peers and younger kids, and they exude patience, persistence, and sportsmanship.