Stand Up And CHEER For Sports Recognition

Why cheerleading should be considered a Regina sport


Photo Credit/ Photo Credit/ Tammy Toliopoulos

Notre Dame Cheerleaders with the Notre Dame student section at a football game.

While there are 12 sports that are cherished by the Regina Dominican community, cheerleading has never been included on that list. 

For so many years before I entered high schools, girls attending either Resurrection High School or Regina Dominican were able to try out for Notre Dame Cheerleading, and have an opportunity to cheer for the football and basketball games of the Notre Dame College Prep boys. Because the cheerleaders cheer for both sports, their own season is almost the entire year, from tryouts in April until the last basketball game mid-February of the next year. 

Because of the name “Notre Dame Cheerleaders,” we are thought to be more affiliated with Notre Dame, and not considered a part of any sports programs at Regina, even though majority of the team is made up of Regina girls of all grades. The IHSA has always considered cheerleading to be a sport, setting general guidelines and team rules just like any other sport, yet it is not recognized at Regina because it is not strictly a school sport.

The time that the cheerleaders spend practicing and cheering in the games is equal to most Regina sport’s practices every week, even though the cheer season is two times longer than most other sports seasons. The team is a big commitment, but to be a part of not only the Regina community with the other girls you go to school with but also the Notre Dame community, makes it all worth it. 

After tryouts in April with a spot on the team, there is a brief cooling period for parents, their daughters, and coaches to get ready and situated for the season. Once June rolls around, though, practicing starts in preparation for the first football game near the end of August. 

Practices are held three days a week, once at Cheer Destiny, a tumbling gym where the athletes have a chance to work on new skills with specific tumbling coaches. The other two days take place in the Notre Dame gym. Three days a week practicing almost always leads into a Friday or a Saturday game, whether it be football or basketball. Four out of the seven days of the week are spent cheering, and while it seems like a lot to some people, we get used to it pretty quickly, and it has become the new normal for me as a senior. 

Just like any other sport at Regina, the athletes on the cheer team are required to keep a certain GPA in order to be able to participate in practice and games. Our coaches use the respective school’s rules and guidelines to determine if the student is ineligible based on their grades in all their classes. If a student falls below a D in any class, just like all the other sports, she cannot participate until the grade is raised. 

Out of the 12 Regina girls that were on the team during the 2019-2020 season, 11 had achieved and upheld A Honors for the year. Our coaches are constantly encouraging us to get our homework done and to study sufficiently so that we can all be at the games together. 

Along with the sideline cheer season ending in March after the football and basketball seasons have ended, the cheer team also competes in multiple IHSA competitions.

Based on the same standards that the cheerleaders are held to, compared to all Regina athletes, it has always surprised me that cheer has never been recognized as a sport. At Convocation and all Fall Honors Assemblies, GCAC is always announced, recognizing each student for their achievements in their sports, but cheer is never mentioned. We are held to the same standards of every other athlete at school, yet we never get recognized for it, or we get considered to be an “extracurricular activity”. 

Although the name of the team does not involve Regina, our own Regina girls participate and work their hardest, some of who are not involved or interested in playing other Regina sports. Notre Dame Cheerleading gives them the opportunity to be on a team and compete and experience athletics in high school if they are not interested in any of the traditional sports that they can get involved in at Regina. 

Notre Dame Cheerleading has given me a second family and has taught me better time management skills, while also giving me a work ethic that has pushed me to not only cheer but also run Cross Country and Track during the year for Regina.  

Cheerleading is most definitely a sport, and the commitment, dedication, and athleticism of all the girls on the team just support the fact that it should be considered a sport at Regina.