One of the many, many disagreements between men and women is whether cheerleading is a sport or not. Well, no, standing on the side lines “leading cheers” and looking pretty is not a sport, but cheerleading is generally code for gymnastics, dancing, and stunting. And those on the other hand, are sports.
I took Lance Armstrong’s approach and broke out the dictionary to look up “sport” …
Sport (noun): An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.
Ok, so “cheerleaders” do more performing than competing, but either way, the activities of a cheerleader are as hard on the body as any contact, competitive sport. Between the back bending, body twisting, hip thrusting, kicking, jumping, turning, flipping and being thrown in the air – the spine takes as many hits as a Lineman’s head.
Except as an NFL cheerleader, we got $60 a game as opposed to hundreds of thousands, but that’s neither here nor there. The only time dancers and gymnasts really do make bank are when they’re on Broadway or in the Olympics … and strippers too I guess. But that does not devalue them as athletes.
And I just learned the hard way, the long term effects of ‘cheerleading’ on the body, after waking up last Friday and physically not being able to get out of bed. But I crawled to my car and limped into the WFNZ studios like a 97-year-old woman, but I had to take pauses during the flashes to disguise screams of pain as it felt like someone was literally stabbing me in my back whenever I moved. After a few hours of shooting pains and not being able to stand up straight, I started crying, like a girl. Yet, I’ve played through the pain with groin and shoulder injuries, and aching muscles feel normal to me, so I knew something was really wrong …
And that it was. I left the studio to go to a doctor and apparently my L5 disc needs to go back into it’s home, and my whole pelvis is not in it’s proper place either. I was diagnosed with a disc bulge and am in risk of it herniating. The disc, described as a jelly doughnut, is leaking out from my spine and it’s pressing directly on a nerve ending. Awesome.
How’d this happen? … well, this is what happens when “cheerleaders” get old. And with my birthday coming up this week, I now feel really old.
Can I get in on the NFL lawsuit, too? (that was a joke).
Meanwhile several articles have come out not only describing cheerleading as a sport, but as one of the most dangerous sports among BMX and Bull Riding. See: (click here). I couldn’t make that up … and it’s because of the number of injuries sustained.
Cason-Point: don’t undermine the athleticism of the contortionists that are cheerleaders, dancers, gymnasts … whatever you want to call them.
I’ll be fine and be back to dancing and twisting my body in weird ways doing aerial dancing and yoga in no time. But I just wish I could have saved money and had TSA send my doctor the X-rays they have of me, as many times as I’ve been sentenced to go into the space ship looking contraption when going through security at the airport.