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Cheerleading – Sport or hobby?

With the release of feel-good films like ‘Bring It On’ and ‘High School Musical’ there has been an increase in the numbers in the UK taking up this most American of pastimes, but is it a sport or a fad?

Here are two views from either side of the Atlantic. First The Seattle Times:

Brits give cheerleading a try

cheerleadersIn a country of polite clappers, where even a standing ovation at the theatre is an anomaly, CeCe Smith-Williams’ desire to be an American-style cheerleader at her British college initially didn’t go over too well. “The team spirit is much more reserved over here,” she said.

But that’s rapidly changing thanks to the popularity of Disney’s “High School Musical” films and the introduction of American-style football in Europe, girls across Britain are taking to the U.S.-born mix of dance and gymnastics.

Cheerleading is the UK’s fastest-growing sport, according to Sian Todd, director of Dance and Cheer 49 in Bristol, England, which runs cheerleading clubs at dozens of schools.

Secondly The Guardian:

Give us an ‘eh?’

Can an activity that features fake tan and hair curlers be a sport? we take our pompoms to Blackpool to investigate the glamorous world of cheerleading.

The routines combine the five elements of cheerleading – tumbling, stunts, jumping, dancing and cheering – and tend to finish with a punch and a fixed grin. Grans and mums with buggies look on, while dads go to fetch more chips.

Is this really what cheerleading is all about? Where are the salacious undertones? The wolf whistling? The hotpants? There is nothing suggestive or sexy about any of it. The event is more like one big sleepover, complete with bags and bags of fizzy sweets.

Not many take cheerleading seriously, even fewer would call it a sport. But that’s what the BCA are campaigning for – recognition from the UK’s sports governing bodies, and, eventually, a place in the Olympics.

To find out more about cheerleading read Complete Cheerleading.

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