Is Sideline Cheer Overlooked?

The Hardships of Sideline Cheer


The North Polk High School Cheer Team, along with Coaches Amanda Hupp and Susan Bowlin.

Zoe Marquez, Editor

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” is the official definition for what a sport is, according to the “Oxford Dictionary”. 

Though sideline cheer checks the boxes for physical exertion and an entertainment purpose, the only thing that separates it from being considered a “sport” is competing against others. Competitive Cheer is titled a sport’ in most cases it is seen as a sport and having programs in the National College Athlete Association (NCAA). Sideline cheer on the other hand, for the mere fact that it is not used to compete, can be overlooked. 

North Polk High School cheer coach Amanda Hupp stated that, “Even though the NCAA doesn’t consider cheer a sport, I treat the NP cheer team just like any other sport.” 

Additionally, Hupp mentioned that the sideline cheerleaders still have to follow sets of rules provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Iowa Cheerleaders Coaching Association (ICCA). 

Kameryn Rutter, a cheerleader for North Polk High School’s football and basketball teams, shared her frustration with the outlook of sideline cheer in an interview about the subject.

“There’s no competitive aspect of it [North Polk’s sideline cheer]… but I feel like people don’t understand that it can be really hard,” expressed Rutter.

Rutter furthermore spoke about the difficulties that could be presented, such as the long hours of practice and the workouts completed during said practices. She also reflected on the act of stunting, which are routines that involve cheerleaders to show their agility and strength in forms of picking up, tossing, balancing and more. 

Even with the challenges that were said by Rutter, and the mention of rules by Hupp, both expressed that they still face negative perceptions of being involved in sideline cheer. 

“Just last week a student in the student section said ‘We don’t need this.’ in reference to the cheerleaders performing a cheer during a timeout,” noted Hupp. 

Both Rutter and Hupp stated that remarks like these make it hard to stay positive and/or motivated, Rutter also going on to say that, “It feels like I may be wasting my time.” 

Even with negative perceptions and the hardships in the activity, the pair choose to keep involved and optimistic as sideline cheer. 

“I try to remind them [the cheer team] that not everyone understands what we do and we just need to continue to do our job and stay positive,” conveyed Hupp.