Why do only male sports have cheerleaders?

Madison Sondermeyer, Op-Ed

What is something that male sports have in high school that the girls don’t? Cheerleaders!! In West Milford High School, there are no male cheerleaders, whereas in other schools it is common for football players, especially in their off season, to be cheerleaders to build muscle and stay in shape. It should be more accepted and encouraged in our school to have more boys as cheerleaders and participate in any other non-traditional activities in which they wish to take part. 

Not only does West Milford not have any male cheerleaders, girls sports don’t have cheerleaders–period. People try to argue that we need the cheerleading team for football, but why can’t some cheerleaders, like the main varsity cheerleaders, go to the football games, while the freshmen go to soccer games or even field hockey games? Why don’t any female teams deserve to have cheerleaders, when they work just as hard as the male teams do? Girls deserve cheering fans, too, and often in this school, the female teams outperform the male teams, so they might benefit even more. 

The bias is especially noted in the winter with the basketball team. The girls basketball team doesn’t have cheerleaders, but the boys basketball team does. Why? Why don’t all sports have cheerleaders? Why is it just football and basketball? Why are they the only sports “worthy” enough to have cheerleaders? Is it because they have the most attendance? Maybe if other sports had more recognition, they would get more attraction. All sports have perks to watching them and all athletes are deserving of fans and cheers and encouragement. 

Another big question being asked is why do even women’s professional teams for basketball or soccer not have cheerleaders? Is it because, for sports like football, the cheerleaders are more for the fans to watch because those cheering are wearing next to nothing?  The cheerleaders should be there to encourage the team, not to entice the crowd with barely there outfits.

According to the article by “Polish Cheerleading Sport Association” called “History of Cheerleading”, cheerleading started in November of 1898, when, “standing in front of a crowd of sport fans, Johnny Campbell, a medical student, started conducting the cheer on the spur of the moment.” This article shows that Campbell didn’t care what people thought, he got excited and cheered for his team. The article also says, “He was so effective that the team won, and he made history as the first cheerleader. And thus the current sport discipline was born.” The team won. I think that is a very important point because cheering does give the team some kind of boost to pull it together and work better together to win. Cheering helps everyone; it shouldn’t just help two boys teams. 

It’s funny to think the first cheerleader was a male and now it is almost frowned upon to cheer when being of the male gender. Even films such as “Highschool Musical”, “Zombies”, and “Bring It On” all have male cheerleaders. People grow up with seeing male cheerleaders and it being okay, so what changes their minds?

Many people don’t even consider cheerleading a sport, which is nonsense, because it takes a great deal of skill, athleticism, time, and a rigorous practice schedule to perfect the routines, so that shouldn’t even be a thought in one’s mind for it not to be a sport. 

Some people can only cheer for a sport during a certain season, because in other seasons they are occupied by other sports such as lacrosse, volleyball, field hockey, and soccer, but, if you find enough people to do it, why not carry it throughout the year? What could West Milford do to normalize men being cheerleaders?

Colleges all around the U.S. are always in need of men to help perfect their lifts and throws. People can get scholarships to really good schools by cheering. Even if that isn’t something you want to do for the rest of your life, it could still help you with your future. The school should be more supportive of what students and classmates want to do; high school is the exact time to be trying new things. People only really get to play sports in high school, why not use this time to your advantage and try it? Some boys might actually enjoy cheering and it could give the team a better advantage of adding some spice to the routine. 

There is a co-ed cheer gym in Wayne called Boys & Girls Club of Northwest New Jersey’.  Maybe, if you don’t feel comfortable cheering for the school, but want to try the sport, you can check them out. Practices start in August and games start in September.  In 2021, no one should feel the need to hesitate to do something because they don’t want to be judged or feel intimidated.