Give us a C – “C”! Give us an H – “H”! Give us a... well, you get the idea. Cheerleading is a choreographed sport that uses a mixture of dance, acrobatics and good old fashioned cheering. It is most commonly thought of in association with American Football, as a way of encouraging the hunky troops to play their best – there’s nothing like a group of girls dancing and chanting your name to keep your attention on the game.
Back in the day cheerleading was limited to cheesy American high school sitcoms, with teeny costumes and huge pom-poms, but in recent days the sport has matured, catching on like wild fire across the world. It is now widely available to everyone, be you male or female, young or (not too) old, girly or not – it is a great way to improve your co-ordination, get a pumping workout and have fun as well.
It is most commonly a group sport, as the more complex moves involve jumping, throwing and catching the smaller members of the group. The cheers are normally broken down into short choreographed routines, where the participants dance in unison, cannon, or individually to create a more varied dance.
Props can be used, most commonly pom-poms, although these are often discarded when the sport moves into the more physical stage of ‘stunting’. This is where members of the group are hoisted onto hands, shoulders, backs and thrown through the air in spectacular looking formations. And you thought cheerleading was for wimps…
Cheerleading is not for the faint at heart – it is much harder than it looks. When in the stunting team it is not uncommon for the lucky people chosen to keep their feet on the floor to be battered and bruised from continually supporting the people on top. If you are the airborne party, you also have to be fairly agile, as you will be burdening the people below you for a large majority of the time.