Category Archives: Cheer

Is It A Sport?

Recently, a court case in Connecticut has begun in which the judge is attempting to determine if cheerleading is a sport. Cheer is generally categorized as an activity for a number of reasons, but a primary one is that sports must have a defined and limited season length which would drastically change the development of the participants. Still, schools try to label it a sport to comply with Title IX instead of having any solid reason for doing so. The Connecticut case is one where a university wishes to label cheerleading a sport which would allow Quinnipiac University to eliminate volleyball but still remain in compliance with Title IX laws.

In truth, I’m not all that knowledgeable about the case or the issue, but I do know that I have a system for classifying what I believe a sport should be.

To me, a sport can be athletically or skillfully decided on the field, court, pitch, or whatever playing area is used. Judges do not determine the outcome; referees may enforce rules, but the action is decided solely by the competitors. This means that football, baseball, sprinting, swimming, long jump, and so on would be sports in my mind.

However, gymnastics, dance, cheer, ice skating, and the like would be, to me, athletic events but more accurately artistic competitions and not sports. Since judges determine the outcomes, I would not classify activities such as these as sports. The participants are undoubtedly athletic and impressive–maybe even superior–competitors than those in what I call sports; however, to me anything judged is an artistic competition.

Of course, someone always wants to throw boxing into the mix since it has judges; however, the boxers can decide the matches for themselves, so I call boxing a sport.

Plus, things like chess, poker, darts, dominoes, and events such as these would simply be games in my mind. If you play it in a bar or casino, it’s a game. 🙂

Now to be honest, my wife does not like my interpretation of classifications, but I like it. I have yet to have someone present an activity I could not classify, so until I’m stumped I’ll stick with sports, artistic competitions, and games.

Maybe I can decide the court case in Connecticut. Put back volleyball and leave cheer alone!

Losing Authority

Just as some teachers feel their authority is usurped by unsupportive leaders and parents, coaches often feel the same way. I have frequently heard from coaches that parents wield their power like a sword, a weapon to brandish when they disagree with a coach; this happens more frequently, so I’m told, when politically powerful or wealthy parents have a complaint. Some of these coaches have also said their authority is undermined by their administrators and school boards.

As a coach I never had my authority taken away, so I consider myself lucky. My autonomy was always maintained. Continue reading

A Good Start

School begins on Tuesday, but as everyone knows the duties begin much earlier. The opening meetings are over, but other aspects of my job are underway.

We won our first football game last night. I can’t say this is the most talented team we’ve fielded, but it is one of the most positive, industrious groups I’ve seen since moving here. This is also the first year our head coach has only kids from his own system; last year we graduated the remains of the previous coach’s system, and now we have a team united under a single philosophy. It should be a fun team to watch because the head coach wants to create positive citizens as well as players.

The best of teams create leaders and exemplary citizens, and I feel our head coach is off to an excellent start.

My wife’s cheerleaders also looked great. They sent groups of girls down the sidelines to involve parents, and they kept the (normally apathetic) crowd louder than usual. She, too, looks to be starting a great cheer season before her competition season begins.