The Great Cheer Debate

A factual opinion on how Cheer deserves to be a sport


Emmalynn Berry

Cheer coach Tamina Hartman helps NPHS cheer squad, early in the morning, with their dance for their next performance.

Emmalynn Berry, Staff Writer

Cheer requires physical work, precision, and skill. Cheerleaders practice two to three times a week until everything is perfect. That sounds like a sport to me.

What makes a sport a sport? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 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. Is there physical exertion in cheerleading? Yes. Are there difficult skills in cheerleading? Yes. Is there a competition? Yes. Is it performed for entertainment? Again, yes. By the dictionary’s definition, cheerleading is a sport. 

Cheer is harder than it looks. “We put in a lot of time and effort into what we do, and it takes a lot of hard work,” freshman Avery Bergeron said. They have to master difficult skills for performances and State. 

One of the most difficult skills Cheer has to master is a technique called Pom. Pom requires a lot of endurance and strength to pull off. Their arms have to be in a certain place with every “pom arm” they do. On top of that, cheer also performs complex and unique stunts that closely resemble gymnastic moves. Even though our cheer squad doesn’t perform stunts at state, these are the kind of routines they perform at State.

Emmalynn Berry
Seniors Aleecia Pace and Mia Dugan help their fellow cheerleaders with the specifics of their new dance  while they practice.

To master all of their dances and cheers, they practice. “We go to early morning practices, just like a bunch of other sports do,” senior Emily Hendren said. North Platte cheerleaders  wake up around five or six in the morning to make it to practice by 6:30. They practice from 6:30 am to 7:15 am in one of the two gyms and they get ready at the school or go home. Then they go to school.

Cheer practice is not a cake walk. Take it from me. I tried out for the squad for my junior year, and it was exhausting. I woke up every morning at 5:15 so I could eat something before practice for two and a half weeks. I didn’t make the team, so I don’t really know what exactly our cheerleaders feel, but I do know the exhaustion they experience.

I was on the Pacer Dance Team my freshman year. The dance team practices from 6:30 in the morning to 7:30 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They practice most of the same techniques as cheer like pom and jumps. It’s just as exhausting as cheer practice.

Emmalynn Berry
NPHS Cheer squad posing after practicing one of their new dances. The cheer squad practices from 6:30 in the morning three days a week. During basketball season they practice in the little gym because the Pacer Dance Team gets the big gym.

Cheerleaders do more than perform at games and pep rallies. They also make posters, sponsor dances, and participate in community events.  These activities help spread school spirit. This is where people get confused about cheerleading and it being a sport. Cheer is a sport plus so much more.

Every cheerleader out there deserves more credit for all of the work they do for their school. They work incredibly hard to show their school spirit. Cheering at football games and making posters don’t sound like a sport, but you have to look deeper into all of the time and effort every girl on the squad puts in. It’s hard work.

With all of the hard work cheer puts in, the NSAA still considers cheer an activity. Even though cheer has all the right qualities for it to become a sport, the NSAA keeps it under the un-sponsored activity list. If we petition them, we can make them reconsider making cheer a sport. It would be a game changer.