While normally you may think of a school rivalry as one between your team and another school's cheerleading team, it's common for teams within the same school to be rivals. Maybe you're competitive with a team that's similar to yours, like the dance or gymnastics squad. Or, maybe it's something entirely different like the tennis or field hockey team. Whatever the sport, there are ways to handle an inner-school sports rivalry.

First of all, think about the root of the rivalry. Is it because of specific teammates that your squad members don't personally like? Are your teams constantly being compared to one another? Are you fighting to make the front page of the student newspaper? Or, is it because one sport is considered more "difficult" or "athletic" than cheer?

Unfortunately, the last is probably the most common reason for many cheer squads. Many people and other athletes don't think cheerleading is hard or a sport. Other sports teams may even taunt you, saying they could do what you do or that what they do requires more skill. Such bad sportsmanship and bullying is frustrating and you shouldn't have to endure it. This doesn't mean retaliating; you don't want to stoop to their level. Instead, handle it with maturity.

Once you've realized the root of the rivalry, make peace with it. Like losing a competition to a rival team, don't let them get you down. Understand that their need to compete with you means that they are intimidated by you! Maybe deep down they see how strong, athletic, and talented you really are. Maybe they wanted to be on the team, but didn't make it. A team wouldn't consider you a rival unless you were on their level or above.

If a rival sports team thinks you aren't athletes, don't tell them that you are. Show them. Don't even bother responding to their comments. Continue on with practice or whatever you're doing. On the sidelines is your time to prove them wrong. Use their negative energy to push you harder at practice and to fly a little a harder. Also, once you start dominating at competitions and reaching new goals, you won't even care what someone else thinks. You know that what you do is incredible!

The same rule applies to a personal rivalry. If you don't like the swim team members, ignore them and focus on yourself and your team. In the end, you're all athletes; you're just playing different sports.

Hopefully, you and your fellow school's sports teams can learn to support one another, or at least realize that everyone is an athlete in their own way.

Does your squad rival with another sports team at your school? How do you deal with rivalries?