There are a lot of things people get wrong about cheer, from myths to misconceptions. People don’t realize that cheerleading is a sport, a spirit builder, gymnastics, dance, tumbling…the list never ends! We already know what cheer is, but a lot of people don’t. Here are 8 things people get wrong about cheer: Cheerleaders aren’t athletes. It’s just like the “cheer isn’t a sport” debate. While in the eyes of Title IX cheerleading isn’t a sport, there shouldn’t be any argument about cheerleaders being athletes. Cheerleaders train as hard as other athletes. They work on strength training, build stamina, and increase flexibility. Cheerleaders are some of the toughest athletes out there! They have the stamina to shout cheers, dance, and tumble at the same time for several minutes straight. They have the strength to lift teammates and toss them in the air. They have the grace to twist and flip in the air. Face it, people: cheerleaders aren’t just girls in pleated skirts; cheerleaders are athletes (and fierce ones at that). Cheerleaders are ditzy. Unfortunately, this misconception stems from movies and TV that include a stereotyped cheerleader character who says “like” and “whatever” a lot; who doesn’t get good grades; who doesn’t understand much other than cheerleading. This is totally untrue! First, most schools require that all athletes, including cheerleaders, maintain a certain grade point average in order to participate. Beyond that, many cheerleaders balance school cheer and homework along with All Stars or community involvement. Look at Maddie Gardner! She’s at the of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studying journalism. Cheerleaders just cheer. The reason a lot of people don’t think cheerleaders are athletes is because they thing the only thing they do is wave pom poms in the air. Even on the sidelines at a football or basketball game, cheerleaders are never just cheering. They’re boosting the spirits of the crowd, performing tumbles and group stunts, dancing, and chanting cheers. Cheerleaders are catty. For some reason, people think cheerleaders are bullies to non-cheerleaders and talk behind their teammates’ backs. However, it’s quite the opposite. Many cheerleaders bond with their teammates; in fact, most teams consider themselves a family! There are several cheerleaders who have publicly stood up against bullying, one having been a victim herself. Cheerleading isn’t dangerous. Some people have a hard time believing that cheerleading is the second most dangerous high school sport after football. Whether it’s a collision, fall, or drop, cheerleaders – both flyers and bases – have sustained truly horrible injuries, from concussions and scratches to torn off nails and broken bones. Cheerleading isn’t competitive. A big reason cheerleading isn’t considered a sport is because people don’t think cheerleading is competitive. They assume cheer squads only cheer on the sidelines in support of the sports team on the field or court. But what about competitive squads and All Stars? The competition gets tough at this level and it’s just as competitive as any other sport. Even on the sidelines, cheerleaders are natural athletes and, therefore, compete against themselves, hoping to improve at each game. There’s no future in cheerleading. Since cheerleading isn’t at the Olympics and doesn’t receive as widespread of recognition as other sports, people think cheerleading can’t help in life. On the contrary, many cheerleaders go on to have incredible careers! Even if they don’t continue on as a cheerleader or an athlete in any way, they learn valuable life skills that help them in college and in a career. Need more evidence? Meryl Streep, Ronald Reagan, and Katie Couric are just three former cheerleaders who went on to have big careers. High school cheerleaders only date football players. Yet another stereotype we’ve seen on TV and in movies! Not only do cheerleaders date a variety of other athletes and non-athletes, many don’t even have time to date. With school, homework, and cheerleading, they barely have time to catch up with their friends and family! What are other things people get wrong about cheer?