Cheerleading is very much a sport



CHS cheerleaders perform.

Cheerleading is a difficult, time-consuming sport that places participants on the same demanding schedule other student athletes report: school, work, practice, homework, sleep and repeat.

“It’s extremely hard to balance school, work, and sports, especially school,” said junior Aubrey Anderson, a member of Concord High’s varsity squad. “It’s very difficult to not feel drained after a long day which brings me to not being able to motivate myself to do schoolwork. Cheer is a time commitment thing but it’s also my passion.”

As the Crimson Tide team practices 5 to 6 days per week prior to a competition, perfecting routines that require stunting, tumbling, jumps and choreography.

Athletes usually take tumbling classes all year long to gain skill. Learning choreography might require up to 6 hours of practice in one day.

Not all stick with it, despite the bonds they create with teammates. Said one former cheerleader, “I enjoyed doing cheerleading but I liked my social life more, which led me to quit cheer.”

People tend to see cheerleaders exclusively as motivators for other athletes, or as entertainers for the crowd. That definition, however, is far from the truth. Cheerleading requires physical exertion and skill, and there is competition involved.

“We work really hard on what we do and it’s not fair to be considered less than other sports just because ours is different,” Jesalyn Arzu said.

A 2020 Netflix documentary, Cheer, shows what goes on behind the scenes of college cheerleading: hard work, teamwork and dedication.

Upcoming NHIAA-sanctioned competitions for cheerleaders include Cheer Madness at Nashua North High School on Feb. 11, and Capitol City Cheer here at CHS on Feb. 18. Varsity and junior varsity teams will compete at Cheer Madness; Capitol City Cheer is for varsity squads only, but there’ll be a junior varsity competition the next day, Feb. 19, at Nashua South High School.

Spirit teams will also compete at AstroBlast2023 at Pinkerton Academy on Feb. 25.