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.

  1. Athlete must be trained, meaning partaking in formal practice.
  2. Athlete must possess a specific physical skill.
  3. Athlete must show physical strength.
  4. Athlete must show considerable agility.
  5. Athlete must show substantial stamina.

So how do cheerleaders stack up against Merriam-Webster’s official decree?

  1. Cheerleaders are meeting to review and practice their routines regularly. (Going on dates with the football team does not count).
  2. Cheerleaders possess some special athletic skill. (I mean who cannot do a cartwheel, right?)
  3. Cheerleaders are strong. (I have tossed another person around before, granted he was only five years old.)
  4. Cheerleaders are agile. (I remember whipping out summersaults and bridges in grade school.)
  5. 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?