Cheerleading may become an official sport

Cheerleading may become an official sport

Kellie Salmond, Staff Writer

Cheerleading: an activity consisting of both boys and girls tumbling, stunting, and dancing.

Cheerleaders practice every week for hours, train in the summer, condition at practice, and give it their all.

How can this activity not be considered a “sport”? Well, if Athletic Director Tim Brillo has it his way, it will be next year.

What truly classifies something as a sport? According to google the definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

According to Brillo, cheerleading currently at LHS is considered a “student activity,” or “athletic club.” The main reason why it is not a sport is because the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) does not recognize it as such.

Despite the state not considering cheerleading a sport, Brillo assures that “athletics has always treated cheerleading as a sport” at LHS. The cheerleaders are provided with “gym time for practice, and includes their coaching staff in our coaches meeting,” said.  

After all these years of being a “student activity” Brillo is pushing towards making cheerleading an official sport at LHS. Starting in 2019 he will be asking for approval to make it official from the “school committee and superintendent.”

Cheerleading requires several difference dance, stunting and tumbling skills that are necessary to make the team. Cheerleading will never be considered a sport during the fall and winter season when it is just sideline cheering, because it is not competitive.  But, during the mid-winter season, they begin competing other schools to be the Western Mass Champion.

As a former cheerleader, I know the level of disrespect everyone has for cheerleading. I’ve heard eople say terrible things after the performances, and you can see people mocking the routines in the stands. I still enjoy cheerleading, but I don’t feel that LHS is a good place to perform due to the large amount of hate our school has for it.

Varsity cheerleader Ashley Navarro believes people don’t believe it’s a sport because of “how it’s displayed in society.” Navarro feels as though “movies and tv shows portray cheerleaders as the typical stereotype.”  Cheerleaders are usually shown as dumb, and only care about looking pretty.

Navarro doesn’t feel that the cheerleaders have gained more appreciation or recognition from the administration and students. Overall she is “sad because they don’t know all the hard work that we actually put into our sport.”

Even though cheerleading isnt an official sport it does not stop students from signing up and participating.  This year the team had the highest number of students signing up, causing the cheer team to have to create a JV and Varsity team for the first time in a long time. Despite the challenges the team faces of becoming a sport, the love for cheerleading keeps bringing people back to the team.

Hopefully the School Committee and Superintendent Todd Gazda will consider Brillo’s proposal and make cheerleading an official sport at LHS.

Junior Ashley Navarro prepares for a stunt at a recent basketball game.