Is Cheerleading a Sport?

"Is cheerleading a sport?"  I recently had that question posed to me.  My answer isn't exactly clear cut, but I imagine it's sure to annoy some. 

No, cheerleading is not a sport... BUT, I think the participants who are active in competitive cheerleading are definitely Athletes.  I'm not going to sit here and write out exactly what I think constitutes a sport vs an activity vs a competition vs a whatever you call it.  I just don't think it falls into the sports category.  That being said, those squads that train and are active in competitions are certainly full of athletes.  They train and work out just as hard as other athletes active in basketball, football, soccer, and the likes (see side note).

I'm interested in what everybody else thinks.  Let the debate begin.  Chime in and tell me "yes" or "no," and why you feel that way, and check back to see what others think.

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SIDE NOTE:  Recently, I went to an open cheer gym in Wichita with my friend Morgan, who was on the cheer squads at both Emporia State and Kansas.  I met Morgan when I was playing basketball at Emporia State, where I roomed with a yell leader.  Ever since I've been done with school, she's tried to get me into an open gym type situation.  When I finally went, I was glad I did.  I had an absolute blast, and used muscles I'd forgotten existed in my body.  In my first session I had learned how to do an extension (picking a girl up over your head while holding onto her feet) and a back tuck (flip).  I'm glad I went because it opened up my eyes to how much strength and coordination it takes to do just the basics.

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