Is Cheerleading a Sport or an Industry?

Discussion in 'Discussing the Cheerleading Industry' started by SharkDad, May 29, 2010.

  1. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

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    I was looking at the title of this section of the boards and it made me wonder if this question is part of the reason that cheerleading is still not considered a legitimate sport.

    If problems are solved from the standpoint of it being an industry, everyone will worry about what is best for their business (gym owners, event producers): score sheets, divisions, ages groups, etc


    If problems are solved from the standpoint of it being a sport, everyone should be working together to try and develop the athlete and the spirit of competition the best way possible for everyone and have this sport compare to any other out there.

    It seems like two very different approaches by the governing body on how to prioritize and solve problems.

    I know I am only a parent so take this from the standpoint of an "impartial observer".
     
  2. wcdad

    wcdad I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    Great question. Having spent 14 years in Allstar cheerleading and Hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point I believe it is a Industry. The approach to many issues and problems is how is it going to affect my bottom line. Even the terms to describe key elements of Allstar Cheerleading are worded to describe Industry and business. Event Producers, Gym Owners, Participants, etc....
     
  3. GAcheerpeach

    GAcheerpeach Cheer Stalker

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    Sadly it's an industry but that's because the governing body wants it that way. Until there are real rules put in place to make it a sport (I won't get started with my list) it will always be nothing more than industry.
     
  4. ACEDAD

    ACEDAD Named "Best Veteran" meaning "Most Attractive". National Champion

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    I would love for you to get started with your list.
     
  5. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    I like the question, though there are quite a few things that are particular to our sport that may always keep cheerleading in the 'industry' category.

    First, our sport is extremely unique ( I think we all know that ). There are no substitutions. Yes we can fill people in, yes we can change things to make it work, but at the end of the day if a kid doesn't show up for a basketball game the team will just have one less player to sub in. If a kid doesn't show up for a cheerleading competition sometimes it may not even be worth it to compete (we can tear apart this last statement on whether it is worth it to compete with missing people, but you get the point I am going after).

    Second, you have to have 100% participation from multiple gyms to have competition. That kind of logistics and organization is not easy and costs money.

    Third, there is no backyard cheerleading. What we do and consider a sport is not even close to what people 'figure out' in their back yards or do on a Rec team (not trying to hate on a rec team). There is SO MUCH infrastructure required to have a competitive allstar cheerleading team (even a mini level 1) and requires a heavy investment. Basketball you can go find a public court. Soccer you can take a ball and setup some cones. Baseball just get a bunch of people, a bat, ball, and some gloves. But to truly compete in allstar cheer you need some mats (wont even mention if they are spring floor or not), a choreographer (can be your coach), a music person (can be your coach), and everyone at the same place every week at the same time.

    All this organization and logistics makes cheerleading more an industry than just a sport. I would say logistically we are the most complicated sport there is on the planet. 100 years ago what we do would not even really be possible to compete in because of so many advances in technology required to even put on an event.

    So I understand the idea that we want to be more a sport than an industry, but I am OK with the fact we probably never will be, because the industry is what gives cheerleaders the ability to compete because it exists.
     
  6. cheerfor2

    cheerfor2 They call me Susie

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    I agree with Kingston that Allstar is completely unique, just try to explain it to someone who has never seen it and you realize there is nothing to compare it to.
    If considering Allstar a sport makes it safer than obviously we all want our children to be as safe as possible. I think it is up for debate if being considered a sport is necessary for Allstar to be as safe as possible, but if it is, that should be the ultimate goal and the most important reason.
    For me there is an emotional, not logical, side to it. Our kids work so hard, through illness and injury, we spend so much money (worth every cent, for what they get out of it, but that’s a different thread topic) and it isn't given the respect it deserves by their friends, our friends and family, basically very few outside of Allstar. I would bet we all have heard some version of "it's not even a sport". My cp did a project presentation in her English class last year "Why Allstar Cheerleading is a sport" and did a great job using the definition of a sport from the dictionary. Most of the boys in her class, good kids mostly football players and many her friends, said they stopped listening when they heard the title. Not being mean, just their perception of cheerleading. Having Allstar considered a sport would in theory help it get the respect it deserves. I can quickly think of a few sports that don’t get a lot of respect, so in reality we don’t know if it makes a difference until it happens.
    A sport or not a sport, we respect what they do, they know how hard they work, what other people think really makes no difference. We teach our children not to worry about what other people think when it comes to subjects like this. I have to admit this is easier to say than do sometimes and this topic for me is one of those times. Logic aside I would like to see it a sport, logic intact call it what you will, keep the cp’s as safe as possible and enjoy.
     
  7. indiglow

    indiglow They call me Susie

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    From Sharkdad

    Reading this thread made me think about a couple of other sports that are similar to cheer, but do compete in true world championships and in some cases the Olympics. Let's take Synchronized Swimming for example. How does this sport deal with the similar issues we have? They have standardized rules - when and how long did it take to get to that point. How do they deal with substitutes for competitions? What if we looked at their governing body - what would we find that is both similar and different to ours?

    Just a thought, but maybe instead of reinventing the wheel, we need to find a sport (or 2) that are similar to cheer and modify their guidelines to fit our needs? Not sure the logistics of it, but it might be worth a shot.
     
  8. GAcheerpeach

    GAcheerpeach Cheer Stalker

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    Ok, if you insist (lol)

    1.) Define a competition season. I would say November 1st to May31st. All sanctioned comps would be in this time frame and no competition would allowed to be held after Worlds.

    2.) Rostering - September 1st all teams/gyms are required to submit team rosters. If you leave your team/gym your are not allowed to cheer for another team/gym until the following season. This would solve lots of problems currently in the industry. Can add cheerleaders throughout the season (rostered properly) as long as the have not cheered for another gym.

    3.) Universal rules/scoring and punishment for each rule infraction predetermined and strictly enforced. Example: gym enters small gym division but aren't small gym (rostering would define that already) they would be disqualified from the comp immediately. Ignorance would not be an excuse either. This would eliminate all the cheating and/or rule bending that goes on.

    4.) Age limits - you can move up one division but only if you are within 2 years of that division. example: your a 9 and the next division age is 12 you could NOT move up until you are 10. Level 5 athletes would be able to move up one division regardless of age.

    5.) Crossover limits - age limits would end a lot of crossovers but I would suggest 3 per small teams and 5 per large teams (4 if the size limit is changed to 30).

    These 5 rules implemented would make all star cheerleading a sport and give it instant credibility outside of the "industry". Of course there would have to be some allowances but they would be predetermined. Example: If you change addresses mid season and the move is more then 25 miles then you could change gyms.

    So now everyone gets to tear me apart.... LOL
     
  9. doubletrouble

    doubletrouble Cheer Stalker

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    GACheerpeach - I agree with all your ideas. Here are my two cents:

    1. Cap and/or standardize registration fees.
    2. Eliminate kickbacks to gym owners for participation.
    3. Reduce the number of Competition Companies, thereby making a National Title more meaningful.

    And King - I have to disagree with you on your subsitiution comment. If your starting quarterback or pitcher is out, you have to sub with a "lesser" athlete in that position. Same with cheer......
     
  10. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    Except in those sports it is standard to have subs. You expect to have some ride the bench and always gave some on call ( or on lower level teams everyone plays. First and second string). You train backups to perform that job even if you think they may never play. In cheer except for maybe level 5 I think alternates are very uncommon. You can throw a sub in at the last minute but they may only do the stunt and pyramid. All the choreography would be impossible to change last minute. And that is if you happen to have an extra.

    Short version, in baseball having extras is part of the sport. Cheerleader not.

    Sent from my Droid Incredible
     
  11. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

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    This is turning into a great discussion so far. The interesting part is that people (a small sample size so far)seem to agree cheerleading is an industry right now. I'll go so far as to say it looks to me like it is basically treated as a performance event.

    But is that what everyone wants? I ask because I have gotten the feeling from everything I have learned over 11 years of watching that most people from every aspect of cheerleading wish it were regarded as more of a sport. Everyone knows WE think of it as a sport, I mean from the "outside world" (i.e. other sporting bodies, ESPN, the olympics)

    So what's stopping us?

    Posted from my BlackBerry using BerryBlab
     
  12. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

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    Why not? What's to stop a team from always having trained back-ups?

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  13. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    Well, I also don't think there are many benefits for calling cheer a sport, even if we want to. If it was a sport, besides recognition what really would it benefit?

    Sent from my Droid Incredible
     
  14. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

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    Standardized competition and safety rules?

    Standardized and sanctioned judging?

    Years ago no one considered NASCAR a sport.

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  15. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    All those things are wonderful. Do we need to be called a sport for those to happen?