Webster’s dictionary defines the word sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.” In my previous column (Sept. 16th’s Rah-Rah Renegades?) I discussed the future of the TJC cheerleaders and the Apache Renegades, the new student spirit group. I’ve had people ask “What’s the big deal about losing the cheerleaders? It’s not like they’re athletes or anything. It’s not like we lost the football team.” Well, that is completely wrong.
Webster’s dictionary also defines competition as “an activity where athletes, of mind and/or physical skill come together to put their skills to the test against one another.”
So, where does that put the cheerleaders?
If you look in the Rogers Student Center on the bottom floor, you will see banners from many National Cheerleading Association competitions (please see above for the definition if you forgot already) that TJC participated in.
In high school, many students, maybe even you, participated in University Interscholastic League (UIL) or TAPPS academic competitions. Many people think that sports involve either a ball or a pair of athletic shoes, but activities such as kayaking, taekwondo, equestrian, table tennis, swimming, and BMX riding are all recognized as sports by the International Olympic Committee (organizer and parent company of the Olympics). In the 1908 Olympic Games, tug of war was played and is still recognized as an option to be added to the Olympics in the future.
As you can see, there are many types of sports. Some may require reading, writing, acting, debating, and other mental skills while others require jumping, running, throwing, catching and other forms of exerting energy. The question of what a sport is cannot be written on paper, printed in black and white. Sport is a universal, broad term used to define and group together many forms of skills an individual may possess. So those who question cheer as a sport may now recognize that just because they are turning cartwheels, doing backhand springs and herkies, all the while cheering for their team, can see by Webster’s and the examples shown here that it has many qualities that define it as such.