Cheerleaders take silver in Anaheim

Johan Hammerby and Johan Hammerby

Congratulations City College cheerleaders for gaining the second place in the United Spirits Association Nationals last weekend!

What? You didn’t know your school team is that good? Hmm, I wonder why…

The United Spirits Association held Nationals from Feb. 13 to 15 in Anaheim, which consisted of dance and cheerleading teams from across the U.S.

The City College team was the second best in their group, earning medals and a trophy.

Such incredible effort deserves a lot of attention, and this accomplishment should be treated just as any of the school’s other sports teams.

But it isn’t. And none of the city’s newspapers bothered to write anything about it.

“It’s so good that you’re here reporting about this,” one of the cheerleaders told me at the competition. “I’m so happy that somebody actually cares about us for once.”

Unfortunately, this is the sad fact. Many people only think of the cheerleaders just as entertainment at the football and basketball games. Most people I’ve spoken to didn’t know that the cheerleaders had competitions. Even less knew that they’d actually won the United Spirits Association Nationals last year.

I’ve never seen a cheerleading competition before. Coming from Sweden, you’re not used to the cheerleading phenomena.

We only have a few pom-pom girls in the stands at hockey games, but nothing like this: the acrobatic performances, stunts, dances and gymnastics.

Over there, cheerleading is only entertainment for the hockey audience. Here, cheerleading is not just entertainment. It is pure sport.

It’s both physically demanding and mentally challenging. Many hours of practice make it as impressive as possible.

It’s exciting to watch as a spectator.

It’s just as nerve thrilling and wonderful as it can be to see a soccer player score in the 93rd minute or see a 50-yard run resulting in the game-winning touchdown.

It’s just as entertaining to see an amazing basket-toss or four human towers perfectly synchronized.

A sport is about physical, mental, tough and well-trained people, teamwork and the fighting spirit to become the best. That is a sport.

And that is what cheerleading is all about.