A Project for Better Journalism chapter

“P! Let’s pump it up!”

On January 31, Parkdale Cheer Elite participated in the 2018 Prince George’s County High School Cheerleading Championship, amongst 15 other teams across the county.

In Division 4A, where Parkdale falls, there were six teams Parkdale Cheer Elite competed against, including Dr Henry A. Wise High School, Charles H. Flowers High School, Bowie High School, Bladensburg High School, and Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

After a long day of competing, Parkdale Cheer Elite came in fourth place while Roosevelt came in first place and took the Grand Champion title.

While Parkdale did not take home the big trophy, the sportsmanship shown through their routine was exhibited alongside dedication and hardwork.

When most people think of cheer, all they think of is “Let’s go team!” or “Go!” but in reality that is not all cheer is. Parkdale Cheer Elite proves that.

Parkdale Cheer Elite not only does sideline cheer– which is cheer on the side of the field used to engage the crowd and encourage the team– but also competitive cheer, which consists of tumbling, stunting, dancing and cheering.

Many people will say that cheer is not a sport, but statistics and the definition would say otherwise.

According to the Australian Sports Commission, a sport is “a human activity capable of achieving a result requiring physical exertion and/or physical skill, which, by its nature and organization, is competitive.”

Additionally, The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina reports that 65.2 percent of all catastrophic injuries in youth sports occur in cheerleading.

“When people say cheer isn’t a sport, I tell them we also compete and it’s a rude awakening when you hit the floor so try it,” said Tali’Jah Deville, a junior and co-captain of Parkdale Cheer Elite. “I’ve jammed my finger, knee and wrist.”

Cheerleading requires several skills:

  • Excellent upper body strength,necessary for performing stunts.
  • Confidence, so cheerleaders feel like they are able to do whatever is necessary, to secure they can land a stunt or base another person without falter
  • Excellent physical conditioning, since need good endurance since they dance, cheer, and tumble.
  • Determination and commitment for daily practice as well as off-season practice and conditioning
  • Good sportsmanship, since they must work as a team, and depend on one another for the sake of a routine or cheer and the safety of one another.

Although Parkdale Cheer Elite showcased all of these necessary components of the sport, they were unable to place in the top three spots, a ranking that the team felt was unfair.

“On competition day the cheer team did great and we showed out, but we should’ve placed higher.” said Deville.