Some cheerleading support groups apparently presume that the squad should be classified as athletes. Now, every reasonable person has to agree that there is absolutely nothing sport-like about smiling, waving, batting eyelashes and flirting with the visiting team. I mean do we really have to resort to the simple power of logic and basic argumentation? I guess we do.
First of all, let’s have a look at the dictionary definition of an athlete. According to Merriam-Webster, an athlete is “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Let’s dissect this definition, aspect by aspect.
- Athlete must be trained, meaning partaking in formal practice.
- Athlete must possess a specific physical skill.
- Athlete must show physical strength.
- Athlete must show considerable agility.
- Athlete must show substantial stamina.
So how do cheerleaders stack up against Merriam-Webster’s official decree?
- Cheerleaders are meeting to review and practice their routines regularly. (Going on dates with the football team does not count).
- Cheerleaders possess some special athletic skill. (I mean who cannot do a cartwheel, right?)
- Cheerleaders are strong. (I have tossed another person around before, granted he was only five years old.)
- Cheerleaders are agile. (I remember whipping out summersaults and bridges in grade school.)
- Cheerleaders have stamina. (Hey, I spend every bit as much time rooting in the stands during the game as they do.)
The final judgment is obvious. There is no way that marching up and down a field for hours and shouting, smiling while in arm-stand, waving while climbing up and jumping off of other people, and singing while performing a synchronized dance provide proof of athleticism. Or, wait a minute. What did I just say?