From Then to Now

Competition cheerleading is a much more intense form of physical activity than what it used to be and it has evolved into something no one ever expected.

When many people think of cheerleading they think of the girls on the sidelines of football games waving around pom poms and dancing.  This comes from the original use of cheerleading that started in the late 1800s.  

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Colleges had the first cheerleaders at football games and had only male participants doing the cheers while fans shouted it back from the stands.  In 1923 women were also allowed to join at the University of Minnesota and other schools very slowly followed behind.  

It was only at schools, anywhere from grade school to college, until the ‘50s when there was the first professional cheer team for an NFL team.  The earliest cheerleading competitions started in the late ‘60s.  Then in 1978 a competitive cheer event was on TV for the first time, called the Collegiate Cheerleading Championships.

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That brings things to where competitive cheerleading is at today.  The basics of cheer are no longer rooting for their team and getting the fans riled up.  If someone goes to a competition, they will see intense routines with a mix of gymnastics, dance, and things from the original form of cheerleading.  Some examples are stunting, tumbling, and jumps.  They may see actual cheers being done if they are at a high school or college competition.  Competitive cheerleading requires hours of practice in hopes to go to national competitions and place.

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