Cheerleading: More than Rooting on a Team

The Competitive Sport of All-Star Cheer


Donahue Family, with permission

Freshman Rebecca Donahue and her cheerleading team performing at The Summit in Florida 2019

Rebecca Donahue, Contributor

Cheerleading is more than going to football games and cheering the football players on. It is dedication and hard work. Some teams practice up to four times a week. That doesn’t include the extra practices the day before competitions and the times going to the gym to improve skills. Cheerleading also requires flexibility. The coaches could change something in your routine the night before a competition and you have to make that change happen on the mat and not forget it.

If I asked 10 people if cheerleading was a sport, 9 out of the 10 would say yes. In fact, it was just put into the Olympics. But when most people think of cheerleading, they think of high school cheerleading, not All-Star.

All-Star Cheerleading is only competitions–no football games, just competing. All-Star teams travel all over the world. Recently there was a completion in Orlando at Disney World called Worlds. Worlds is when the biggest All-Star teams from around the world go and compete together.

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When an injury does happen we are supposed to smile through the pain and finish the routine.

— Rebecca Donohue

There is another competition in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports the following week called the Summit. The Summit is when teams from around the country and world go to compete.At Summit over 1,500 compete against each other to win.

All-Star cheerleading is all year round you never get a break. Over summer you are working on your skills to get a level higher, you are learning a new routine, working out to get stronger so you have the strength to lift girls in to the air and do challenging stunts. Not everyone thinks of cheerleading that way.

Most people don’t realize how dangerous cheerleading is. Members have to lift other members into the air. Sometimes the elevation is very low to the ground and other times it’s up to 10 feet off the ground. If the flyer ever falls from the top of the stunt they could break a bone or get very hurt. On some teams they are throwing the cheerleaders from stunt to stunt in the air. If someone underneath the stunt doesn’t have the right grip on the flier’s foot she could fall and get hurt. Then most likely she would be out for the rest of the season.

Olivia Coy, a freshman at Abington High School said, “I have dropped some stunts. And I know of people getting hurt from cheerleading stunts.”

People have gotten paralyzed from cheerleading because they have fallen from stunts. If you fall during your tumbling pass you could roll your ankle, break something, or get seriously injured. When an injury does happen we are supposed to smile through the pain and finish the routine. Afterwards we can cry as much as we want.

Like Coy, an Abington High school junior Haven DiMambro said she has “definitely dropped a few people and felt terrible about it after.” When asked how that happens she said, “sometimes it’s difficult if they aren’t near you to catch them or if it just happens so fast.” DiMambro also knows “a lot of people who get hurt from stunting.” She added that “it [stunting] is very dangerous, depending on what skills you are doing.” Despite the danger, DiMambro said, “I love trying new things in cheerleading and getting a new stunt to stay up it’s just really accomplishing to me.”

Cheerleading is not all dangerous; it’s also very fun. Coy said that, “My favorite part about cheerleading is when you make new friends and you can experience competitions with them.” DiMambro agreed. She added that,”Getting ready for competitions is really just doing the routine over and over again and perfecting everything until it’s right and conditioning our bodies to be able to keep our energy throughout the routine.”

Besides the fun and satisfaction of competing, some cheerleaders get to meet their idols at the competitions. Another benefit is that they get to travel around the state, country, and world. Not every athlete gets to do that!