It’s time to admit that Cheerleading is a real sport at Glasgow

Glasgow University Cheerleaders are killing the game

Ever since cheerleading became competitive at Glasgow University, there has been a lot of controversy as to whether or not it is a real sport. Cheerleaders have been stereotyped as nothing more than superficial mean girls who care about nothing but bows and boys when, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. No more shall cheerleaders be asked “Who are you cheering for?” but rather “Who are you competing against?”. Here are just a few reasons why cheer is not just a sport but is so much more:

Cheerleaders fitness levels are INSANE 

In some sports the key is to be strong, fast, coordinated etc. but in cheerleading, you have to be everything. Cheerleaders have to weight train because they are literally throwing other people in the air and catching them repeatedly. They have to be agile for jumps, flexible for tumbling and coordinated for dancing. They have to be good at everything in order to compete and they train regularly for hours. They are constantly striving to improve and learn new skills before putting all their energy into their performance, so their fitness has to be good enough to hold someone else in the air even while they’re tired or out of breath. If the Netflix series ‘Cheer’ (which everyone should have seen) has taught us anything, it’s how hard cheerleaders train.

They have to perform while exercising

As someone who has played many different sports, something I have never before had to consider is how I look while I’m doing it but, in cheer, that matters. Cheerleaders constantly have to ‘give face’ when competing, meaning they have to be smiling at, singing to, and hyping up the crowd all whilst performing an intensive routine. Many people frown in concentration but that is simply not an option in cheerleading. Teams get marks for their stunts, tumbles, pyramids but they also get points for performance, so it doesn’t matter if you are hurt, sad, stressed, if you are not radiating positivity on that stage then your team is losing points. So if you think running up a pitch is hard, try it while trying to give face and find how your concentration splits.

The stereotype is all wrong

Despite what TV shows and films may have led you to believe: not all cheerleaders are self-obsessed and stupid. This, I believe, is the most sexist stereotype in sport and you can’t change my mind. I once had a friend tell me that he was disappointed in me for doing cheerleading because it meant I would become “one of them”, a girl who obsesses over fake tan, false eyelashes, and doesn’t eat except for a salad once every 3 days. In fact, the girls I’ve met through cheer are the most intelligent, hard-working girls I know who are constantly there to support and encourage one another. Some like fake tan and false eyelashes, some don’t…but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that they are driven, kind, and some of the best pals a girl – or guy (yes they do exist in the cheer world) – could ask for!

We’re actually very successful

This month Glasgow University Cheerleaders have competed at BCA Scottish Sensation, Future Cheer, and Scottish Student Cheerleading Championships and…well I’ll let the results speak for themselves…

  • Level 1 Cheer – 1st place at BCA and SSCC
  • Level 2 Cheer – 1st place in their division, Grand Champs and Ultimate Grand Champs at Future Cheer
  • Pom – 1st place in their division at Future Cheer and SSCC and Grand Champs at both competitions
  • Level 2 all girl stunt group – 2nd place at Future Cheer and SSCC
  • Level 3 all girl stunt group gold – 3rd place at Future Cheer
  • Level 3 all girl stunt black – 1st place at Future Cheer and SSCC

So not only do Glasgow cheerleaders train hard, but we compete hard to win at our sport. With our success and with the friends I’ve made, I’m definitely glad to be “one of them”.

Image Credit: Glasgow University Cheerleading Club (@gusacheer)