I usually love Jezebel, but this entry, "Just Because Cheerleading Is Hard Doesn’t Mean It’s A Sport," reeks of condescension and makes no attempt to discuss the place of cheerleading on a collegiate scale, or the development of collegiate women’s sports.
And I was going to defend all the ways in which cheer is legitimate, but then I realized, wait: Cheerleading ISN’T a sport. Because if cheer was a sport, we would:
1) have universal, enforceable safety regulations instead of rules that vary from team to team and school to school;
2) make sure all cheer coaches were certified and equipped to safely spot tumblers and supervise stunts (since many are not);
3) be recognized by the NCAA, as opposed to external organizations like UCA and NCA that do their best outside of school to give competitive cheer a place to grow and develop as a team sport;
4) not unnecessarily conflate spirit squads (who cheer on the sidelines) with competitive cheer (which involves complicated aerial stunts and gymnastics);
5) create space for more collegiate women’s sports teams, instead of replacing one women’s team with another;
6) have access to on-campus practice facilities, athletic trainers, and medical resources; and
7) not have to deal with condescending jerks about the whole thing.
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