Image: Bring It On/Beacon Pictures.
I’ve never had a gym membership because I’ve never needed one – my sport has kept me fit, healthy and active for over 12 years.
I am a cheerleader. Throughout my cheerleading career I’ve worn many hats – from cheerleader to coach, choreographer to gym owner. But it doesn’t matter how many International Championships we win or how many records we break, cheerleading still seems to get a bad wrap.
So allow me to debunk seven of the most common myths about cheerleading – maybe it’s the sport you’ve been waiting for.
(Paper Tiger show Mamamia a great ab exercise. Post continues after video.)
1. Cheerleading is exclusive
The whole concept that cheerleading is only for skinny blondes who can high-kick their legs behind their ears is probably the most frustrating myth for me as a coach.
What I love most about cheerleading is that it is for everybody. Just like other team sports, cheerleading has positions (flyers, bases, back bases, tumblers, dancers) that require athletes of various shapes, sizes and skill sets to fill them. Tall, short, solid, skinny, blonde, brunette – it takes them all to hit that perfect routine! Cheerleading competitions offer divisions for absolutely everybody – beginner, elite, all-girl, co-ed and more recently, special needs teams.
2. Cheerleaders are not athletes
Yes, I just called us athletes. Cheerleading requires its participants to lift, toss, fly, jump, flip, dance and smile through it all. It’s every cardio pop, body pump and cross fit class you’ve ever taken, all rolled into one – and then some! We’re not just lifting barbells or tossing balls – we lift and toss our teammates. Talk about team bonding!
On top of training anywhere between four to 12 hours per week, we also cross-train and fuel our bodies with healthy foods, just like any other athlete.
3. Cheerleaders are dumb
Don’t be fooled by all the excessive smiling, glitter and jumping around – this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Cheerleading requires intense concentration and quick thinking. In my experience, cheerleading attracts some of the smartest, most driven and ambitious young people in our communities. The day jobs of just some of my personal cheerleading peers include: marine biologist, architect, doctor (fun fact: I could fill an entire hospital with all the cheerleading doctors I know), lawyer, entrepreneur and aerospace engineer.