National Cheerleading Week is celebrated every first week in March during the National Cheerleading Safety Month, and this year, it takes place from March 4 to 10. It is an important week-long event dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the sacrifices and contributions of cheer athletes to the sports world. This significant holiday, a brainchild of Linda Lundy, a former coach, choreographer, and judge, was founded in 2005. It also lends focus to reorienting and changing the misconception about cheerleading not being a real sport — it is! Cheerleading isn’t just some fancy activity featuring smoking hot girls flaunting their stuff and screaming their lungs out, it’s a dynamic and honorable sport.
History of National Cheerleading Week
Pulling off stunts, jumping, tumbling, handsprings, back tucks…cheer, often undermined, isn’t just some activity you simply just glide through. Extremely vital in setting the spirit of the stage for an epic game, cheer is one of the most physically intense sports. It combines gymnastics, dance, and acrobatics, all wrapped up with poise and grace. It also requires week-long, sometimes, months-long intense training to put on a great show. Cheerleading requires agility, strength, flexibility, stamina, and an active mind ever-ready to learn new routines. National Cheerleading Week recognizes this fact and is dedicated to bringing the spotlight to the hard work and dedication of these athletes, so they get well-deserved recognition.
Did you know the art of cheerleading kicked off in Great Britain in 1869 during the first intercollegiate game between Princeton University and Rutgers University in New Jersey before spreading across the world? Although credited to Princeton University, it was in 1884 that Thomas Peebles, a graduate of Princeton after moving to the University of Minnesota, adopted Princeton cheers and popularized the idea.
On November 2, 1898, a medical student named Johnny Campbell, in the spirit of the game moved to fire on the team and the crowd picked up the microphone and started cheering with the words “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-tah!” It worked magic and the team won. This cemented his place as the world’s first-ever cheerleader. Cheerleading then became popularized in different parts of the world. Although the sport is female-dominated today, it wasn’t until the 1920s women started joining the University of Minnesota, and by the 40s as a result of men going on to fight in World War II., women began joining in large numbers. By the 1960s, cheerleading had spread around.
National Cheerleading Week timeline
The megaphone was employed by the male cheerleaders at Princeton University, so their voices could project over the cheering crowd, and has now become a fixture cheer tool today.
Thomas Peebles, a graduate of Princeton University, moves over to Minnesota University, where he adopts Princeton's cheer and is dubbed Father of American Cheerleading.
The "Grandfather of Modern Cheerleading,” Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer starts the National Cheerleaders Association (N.C.A.) and the first cheer champ a year later.
The Title IX rule officially grants permits for females to compete in sports and with that, female cheerleading launches.
Linda Lundy founds the Cheerleading Week to help create awareness about cheerleading athletes and their immense contributions.
National Cheerleading Week FAQs
What does it take to become a cheerleader?
If you’ve got the passion to cheer, you’ve also got to know it’s a lot of work requiring time, commitment, and lots of practice. While experience comes in handy, you could soak up knowledge before tryouts to be prepared.
Have there been any deaths related to cheerleading?
While it is unarguable that several cheer injuries are on the rise, cheerleading statistics show, that it has resulted in at least one death per year, from 1991 to 2015. Sadly, Ashley Burns (2005 — injury to her spleen), and Lauren Chang (2008, accidentally kicked in the chest), are a few cases. However, efforts are being boosted to prevent a recurrence.
What's the world's largest cheer?
According to Guinness World Records, on December 23, 2018, the largest cheerleading cheer was pulled off by 2,102 participants, achieved by Hangzhou Binxing Cheerleading and Arts Training Co., Ltd. in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
National Cheerleading Week Activities
Join the Squad
Sounds exciting, right? Always dreamt of cheering for your favorite team? National Cheerleading Week presents the perfect opportunity to team up with other cheer lovers and make a difference.
Cheerleading teaches team spirit, and leadership builds confidence as well as helps maintain high spirits during the game which translates outside the game. National Cheerleading Week presents an opportunity to change perceptions about the relevance of cheer. Do your part to spread awareness.
Reignite passion through fundraising
Put some cheer by kicking forward a campaign fundraiser for your team which comes in handy during travel, competitions as well as props (uniforms and tools), and as coaching fees. This goes a long way!
5 Awesome Facts About Cheerleading
Some celebs were cheerleaders
From Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Blake Lively, and Sandra Bullock to even Meryl Streep and Samuel L. Jackson, the list goes on!
Men were the original cheerleaders
While today women account for almost 90%, way back in the late ‘80s cheerleading sport began by men and was male-dominated.
Cheerleading is now a recognized sport
In July this year 2021, the cheerleading sport received its long-awaited stamp of approval from the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.).
First recorded cheer squad
In 1954, the Baltimore Colts rewrote history as the first National Football League (N.F.L.) team with cheerleaders.
Lawrence Herkimer is diamond
A former cheerleader himself, the Father of Modern Cheerleading made major contributions to the art of cheer, including creating the pompom, the spirit stick, the Herkie jump, and the National Cheerleaders Association.
Why We Love National Cheerleading Week
It reminds us to celebrate cheer athletes
Cheer might look all easy and glamorous, but it is very physically demanding and intense with a high risk of injuries. However, most people don't realize the dedication and passion that goes behind the scenes in cheerleading. They dismiss these athletes as just side attractions — the day brings this fact to the fore, begging for redress in orientation.
It reminds us CHEER is super important
Cheerleading is associated with boosting positive energy and keeping the spirit alive but upon a closer look, we also find the art teaches us really significant life tools such as confidence, dedication, perseverance, team spirit, sportsmanship, leadership, comportment, and dealing with pressure among others. We love this!
It reminds us to make beautiful memories
Live. Breathe. Love. National Cheerleading Week reminds us of the brutal fact that life is short. While you still have the luxury, maximize every second of it. Let go of grudges, have a good belly laugh, embrace your passions and have a blast.
National Cheerleading Week dates