Today’s post was written by my 10-year-old daughter (whom I refer to as S10). In the post below, S10 explains how all star cheerleading and recreational cheerleading programs differ. Helping others understand the differences between all star cheer and recreational cheer is very important to S10. When S10 tells people that she is a level 2 all star cheerleader, they often assume that she cheers for sports teams.Wrong! Read on as my eldest throws down some knowledge in her quest to educate others about what all star cheerleading really entails. I can tell you this: all star cheerleading is certainly not the same cheerleading that I remember from back in my younger days. I hope you enjoy her post!
Change Your Thinking
What a lot of folks envision when they hear “cheerleading”:
What all-star cheerleading REALLY looks like:
Cheerleading: All Star vs. Recreational
by S10: 10-year-old budding feminist, soon-to-be-5th-grader, future lawyer, and bad to the bow.
When you think of cheerleading, you probably think of girls, a football team, cute uniforms, and great big smiles. However, that is not always the case. You see, what you are imaging is called “recreational cheerleading,” or, for short, “rec cheer.” There is actually another type of cheerleading that looks quite different from rec cheer. This type of cheer is known as all star cheerleading, which is what I have chosen as my main after-school sport.
How Are They Different?
How are the two types of cheerleading different? First, the rec cheerleaders dedicate most of their time to cheering for sports teams, while all star cheerleaders do not cheer for others at all. All star cheerleaders only participate in sporting competitions. We don’t even use our voices to cheer! While yes, both types of cheerleaders are expected to wear ridiculous smiles and makeup, all star cheerleaders do not chant cheers for sports teams, wave around pom-poms, or yell into megaphones. I’m not saying anything is wrong with cheering for sports teams on a rec cheer team, and I even have friends who do it and like it a lot. It just that I, personally, am not comfortable cheering for boys sports teams. I feel I want to do more than that.
Another difference is that all star cheerleaders work their “butts” off more, usually practicing 2 times a week for 2-3 hours, all year long. Rec cheer teams practice fewer days and hours a week, and their season only lasts as long as the sport season. All star cheerleaders need a whole year to get ready to go to elite, prestigious competitions, sometimes far away. Now I’m not saying rec cheerleaders don’t work hard and practice hard, I’m sure they do. But it seems that after a rec team learns a routine, it’s more to perform it at games for the crowd to say “Yay!” than to compete. The main focus of rec cheer seems to be the outcome of the game they are cheering, rather than competition results. Personally, I like being the only center of attention, which is why I chose to join all star cheer, not rec.
Yet another difference between all star cheer and rec cheer is that while both types of cheer teams go to competitions, the rec competitions seem more mellow. I believe that all star competitions are much more competitive, and I have competed in both types of competitions. Also, rec cheer competitions can be held at any local high school gymnasium. In contrast, all star cheer competitions are often held at an arena, stadium, or other popular location in a major city or well-known town. The equipment at all star competitions seems to be of better quality than the equipment at local, rec competitions too. Maybe that is partly why it costs so much more money to do all star cheer than rec.
Finally, for rec cheerleaders, their teams’ existence depends on having other teams to cheer for. I like that all star cheer teams can exist alone. For example, what if there were no local sports teams in your town? Let’s say that one year, a town cut all league football or basketball teams. If that happened, rec cheerleading probably would end up cut too, because they’d have nobody to cheer for. That would be sad. Cheer should exist for the girls (and boys sometimes) who love it; it shouldn’t depend on the presence of other, usually boy-only sports teams.
To conclude, in my opinion, all star cheerleading is a better fit than rec cheerleading for me. I also think all star cheer is the more challenging choice of sport, and I love challenges. This is only my opinion though, and I am curious to find out yours! Feel free to comment your thoughts on the subject below! Also, please check back often for my follow up article describing Why Cheerleading is a Real Sport coming soon!