Whether it's all-star cheerleading or school cheerleading, everybody has a certain view of how cheerleaders act or how they’re supposed to act. Sometimes, cheerleaders wished people would understand a few things about our sport and stop having such negative connotations toward us. So, here are 11 things cheerleaders wished you understood:
1. We’re not stupid
I know this is completely shocking to some of you. But, just because we’re cheerleaders doesn’t mean we’re stupid. Actually, just like any other sport, you have to maintain a certain grade point average or you can’t cheer. And all-star cheerleading coaches may not have the ability to check our grades but they still expect us to maintain good grades. Most want to cheer in college and to even tryout you have to have a certain GPA. So please stop assuming that cheerleaders are stupid, we’re just like any other athlete.
2. How harsh everybody is to us
People seem to love to tell cheerleaders that we’re stupid, mean, and promiscuous and that the sport we love isn’t a sport. And they can be extremely harsh about it. When you tell someone you’re a cheerleader they get this certain idea in their head that you’re just a bad person overall. But, we’re all different. Just because you know one cheerleader that’s stereotypical doesn’t mean we’re all like that. Sometimes it’s hard when you are constantly being judged and people will not give you a chance. Also, we are so tired of you telling us cheerleading isn’t a sport. The only thing that’s going to do is hurt our feelings and annoy us. So please, think before you say things about us. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.
3. We’re not all girly girls
We’re not all girly girls, outgoing, and friends with everyone. Some cheerleaders are tomboys, some are shy and some like to keep to themselves. The point is we’re all different, even cheerleaders. People seem to think we’re all super bubbly, peppy, girly girls when not all of us are. Of course school cheerleaders love school spirit, but for the most part, we’re only peppy when we have to be and completely chill the other times. Some think since we’re cheerleaders who are always in front of a crowd we should feel completely comfortable in front of people. But some of us are shy and would rather keep to ourselves. Don’t stereotype us.
4. We’re also not the stereotypical cheerleaders you see in movies
Every movie or TV show for some reason shows cheerleaders in a bad light. We’re not all like that I promise! Media cheerleaders and real cheerleaders are completely different.
5. We work just as hard as other sports
When I cheered we would run one to two miles every practice, hold wall sits while hitting motions and doing cheers, P90x, and insanity, timed pushups and sit ups, and so much more conditioning, just like any other sport. We work extremely hard to be able to gain the skills to be the best cheerleaders we can be. We have practices every day for the whole year, no off time. These practices do consist of working on our cheers, our routine, and conditioning. We don’t just sit around and do nothing like some think. Even when we get injured, we’re expected to compete through it and push ourselves. We actually work extremely hard and wish others would understand that.
6. While competing, one, small mistake can take us from first to last
During most sports, you have the chance to make up for mistakes multiple times in quite a bit of time. For competition cheerleaders, we have two minutes and 30 seconds to prove ourselves and if we make one, small mistake that can take us from first place to last. We do have chances to make up for our mistakes in other parts of the routine but not as much time as most sports.
7. We work our whole lives to gain the skills we have
We try to make everything look so easy, but it took forever to get our tumbling, stunting and jumps perfectly. Most of us work years to get skills and can even go through mental blocks which cause us to be too scared to do these skills which make it take longer to perfect them. Cheerleading is much more of a mental sport than anything out there. It’s not rare to hear a cheerleader say she’s been working on something since she was younger because it’s almost impossible to gain these kinds of skills overnight.
8. We have so much to prove
Anytime we step floor on the mat we have to prove to the judges we deserve to win or receive a bid. But, we also have to prove to everybody that cheerleading is a sport. Whether it’s a game, practice or competition, we always have to prove that cheerleading is a sport. We’re always trying to show how hard we work so people take us more seriously. If people would take us more seriously and believe that cheerleading is a sport then we would get great safety benefits which brings us to…
9. Since cheerleading is not considered a sport, our safety is at risk
With cheerleading not being considered a sport by most high schools we are not getting the necessary important safety benefits. If cheerleading became a sport then cheerleaders would have to have an actual place to practice considering most schools just allow them to practice in hallways or in a spot outside. This is extremely dangerous considering the stunts and tumbling most do. Also, the hiring for coaches would be much more intense with coaches having to be certified in how to spot properly which would help cheerleaders in many ways and push coaches to become more knowledgeable in the sport and have more experience.
10. Once we’re done, we’re done forever
This applies to many sports after high school or college or even professionally, once you are finished with the sport you’re done forever. With cheerleading, it’s so much different. With basketball, football, volleyball, you can still pick up a ball and play. Cheerleading you can’t. Once you step off the mat or leave the stadium for the last time, that’s it. We’ll never get to cheer or compete again. We’re definitely jealous of any sport that can technically continue doing what they love most.
11. Our team is our best friend
Every day, every week, every month, for years, we spend our time with the same people constantly. Yes, some quit and some join the team. For the most part, we’re all together, all the time, for years and even though we’re together so much, we’re still best friends. After practice we’re together, we see each other at school, we practice together, and compete or cheer games together and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Being together all the time all year long is just normal too. Of course, sometimes we get annoyed but we still love each other and are all best friends.