Is Competitive Cheer Worth It?


Mary Marzula

Traveling thousands of miles, giving up your social life, having many injuries and going to practice every day to nail a two minute and thirty-second routine. Is it really all worth it? High school is the best time of your life(for some people), but students of all ages are throwing it away due to competitive cheer and the stress that comes along with it. 

For many of the competitive cheer teams, athletes must travel across the country. Sometimes even thousands of miles just to perform one routine. Due to traveling almost every weekend, you notice it really adds up. You can miss a lot of experiences throughout your teenage years due to cheer. You miss out on vacations, parties, weddings, and family gatherings. It can even go to the extreme of missing school dances that only happen once in a lifetime. I don’t know about everyone else, but the fear of missing out on something big is very stressful for me. 

Competitive cheer is more than what people think. It is not using pom-poms or cheering on a football or basketball team. Cheer has become one of the most dangerous sports today. People do not realize that we are throwing girls 20ft in the air and they are expected to flip and spin. Not to mention all the high level tumbling some levels are expected to do. From doing all of these high-level acrobatic skills, there are going to be injuries- concussions being very common. Falling is a part of cheerleading whether it comes to learning a new tumbling skill or a new stunt. Broken bones are always happening in cheerleading and you’re expected to push through and still do your job for the team. 

Having practice every day for 2-3 hours on a normal day might seem like a lot but for competitive cheer but that is just a typical day. A day for a cheerleader is jam-packed. Teens are expected to go to school early in the morning, stay later for school cheer practice, and then rush straight to competitive practice leaving no time for homework and dinner until you get home very late. Along with the normal stressors from school and the work involved, not getting much sleep adds that much more stress to get all of their work done. 

This is all very bittersweet because you love the sport you do. However, is it really worth your mental and physical health declining? Cheerleaders put themselves through all of this pain and stress just to participate in an extracurricular activity. I, however, think it’s worth it because you learn more than being a great athlete, you learn many helpful life lessons and you meet so many more people.