Is Cheerleading a sport? One reporter’s quest to find out

By By Charles Cook, Staff Writer

Just to clarify readers, no I am not the “official” Observer columnist, though many characterize me with traits pertaining to those of a young Ben Gloger. Well this month, my “informal” column addresses an issue that has just come to my attention: according to a legal judge ruling in a court case at Quinnipiac University, cheerleading cannot legally be considered a “sport”.


Well, in my book, due to the sheer physical power and yet parallel finesse and grace that cheerleaders exert, it is a blatant injustice, and complete violation of my deep convictions to consider cheerleading as anything less than a sport.


Where then, readers, does the line end in defining a sport. When observing “sports” that today’s society glorifies, (football, basketball and baseball) each activity bears one thing in common: sheer and raw physical exertion in an organized manner.


Now let me clarify, there is, in fact, a bold distinction between competitive, organized, cheerleading and drunken exclamations of a fan’s loyalty to the Redskins.


First of all, how cheerleaders manage to pull off some of the maneuvers they demonstrate is beyond me. I am convinced they are wizards, or at least contortionists, for that matter. Now you might be saying, come on Charles bears, I can pull off the splits and cartwheels. Well if this is true, more power to you, but I am going to find out first hand if the average man can pull off such stunts.


I like to consider myself a young man with an average body type, with the exception of my abs of steel and guns so powerful they should be outlawed in the United States. I therefore think I provide an accurate barometer of the ability of an average cheerleader-wannabe to pull off such stunts. My first attempt: the splits.


Sporting a skin tight jumpsuit in order to reduce the chance of baggy clothing affecting my performance, I was ready to attempt the splits.


Now being of the male gender, I knew I could not just go about attempting the splits all willy nilly. I would need to approach such a delicate procedure with the knowledge of a seasoned veteran.


Upon further research, I found out that attempting the splits with legs extended in front and behind the body is the best approach for a first timer. I squared my feet up, and thought to myself “here goes nothing.” My legs formed no more than a 90 degree angle, and I immediately knew this was my body’s limit; the underside of my legs were in a state of excruciating pain. I then concluded that the splits are beyond the ability of the common man (emphasis on man).