Cheerleading is a sport that requires many different skills. Those who participate in this activity have but one name, yet they simultaneously wear many different hats. They are dancers, gymnasts, weight lifters, actors, and musicians. They must count measures of music, remember choreographed dance routines, flip through the air, and dodge players and officials--all with a smile as they entertain the crowd.
Many people refuse to acknowledge cheerleading as a sport. They write it off as an extraneous component of a ball game; if cheerleaders are there, great, if not, that’s okay too. Cheerleaders are still thought of as the “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders” stereotype: dumb blondes whose only purpose is to stand on the sidelines looking pretty and cheering on the men who play the “real” sports.
This idea is false. Cheerleading, in its actual sense, is far more intricate and skillful. Not only do these girls, and guys, have to memorize their own routines and learn acrobatics, they must also be knowledgeable about the sports they are cheering for. After all, they would look pretty silly if they cheered when the other team made a good play, right? Cheerleaders have a much harder job than putting on lipstick and fixing their hair. A lot of skill and thought is necessary to perform for an audience and pay attention to the game at the same time. Add in the fact that they are throwing each other into the air and it becomes a real spectacle.
If you are interested in seeing these athletes in action, I recommend attending one of our home basketball games. The UAFS cheerleaders are a talented group of performers who strive to both entertain the crowd and push themselves to reach new skill levels. This year they have incorporated many new stunts and routines into their already impressive basket of tricks. They attend all home volleyball and basketball games, and can also be seen around town promoting UAFS athletics and University outreach.
These young men and women also work hard for a good education on top of practicing their sport. They, along with their fellow athletes, cheer each other on in the classroom as well as on the court. Cheerleaders must maintain a good GPA and good attendance at school in order to keep their place on the squad. It takes smart, dedicated athletes to juggle so many tasks and serve up great performances, and they are a “leading” example of hard work and commitment.
So next time you see a cheerleader go flipping across the basketball court during a timeout, take a second to think of them as more than just a pretty face.