The Real World of Cheerleading

A first-hand account of what cheer means to one of our Music sub-editors

Lucy Bower
21st May 2022
Image credit: Twitter @UKCheerleading
Pom poms, hair bows, and cheesy smiles. The word cheerleading often holds connotations of the ‘dumb’ pretty girls who cheer the real sport on from the sidelines. However, this harmful stereotype has suppressed the real, core values of the sport. 

When I attended my first cheerleading session way back at the smite age of 10 years old I was blown away. All of the expectations of this sport were thrown down the drain as the coaches ran vigorous workouts and scolded anyone who dared to ask where the poms were. That’s because real cheerleading involves skill way beyond a pretty smile. 

From tumbling, to jumping, to throwing real people around in the air, the world of cheer is one unlike any other. It combines the stamina of athletics with the performance of gymnastics, and is bloody difficult. For the successful squads, training takes place multiple times a week as routines get polished and stunts get mastered. When stunts don’t work, the consequences can be brutal. 

And just like any sport, cheerleading values sportsmanship. Your squad are people you can trust. For me, cheer was empowering. I grew up surrounded by older girls to look up to, and truly believe it created who I am today. Not everyone can say they learnt to trust a group of people to throw them around the air. Alongside the physical demands, cheer provides a support system that helps so many adolescent teenagers trying to navigate their way around the world. It certainly goes beyond the sport. 

For me, cheer was empowering... and I truly believe it created who I am today.

So the next time you think about cheerleading, don’t dismiss it as a hobby for the weak. The real cheerleaders don’t deserve that. 

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