Why don't all sports have cheerleaders

Series "My Sport and I" (14) : Cheerleading is not a show event

Sport means passion, hard work - and giving up. In our series, athletes tell very personally how much strength it takes and what they take on for their sport. In the last part, Viktoria Pohl, 31, talks about her enthusiasm for cheerleading, which she discovered ten years ago. In the meantime, she is no longer only active herself, but also trains six to twelve year olds at the Giants Berlin.

I got into cheerleading for the first time through my sister. She had been with us for a number of years, and one day I was sitting in the gallery myself and watching. To my amazement, the cheerleaders weren't standing somewhere on the sidelines, they were the focus of the event.

What grabbed me was probably the enthusiasm that I saw in the eyes. This focus, this will. And at the same time the big grin on the face. That was ten years ago. In the meantime I am not only an active cheerleader myself, but also a trainer for the Giants Cheerleader Berlin. I train six to twelve year olds and I really enjoy that. I love to accompany the children on their way and to tease the existing potential out of them.

Nothing makes me so happy to watch my pupils constantly improve and surpass themselves. Mind you, I do all of this on a voluntary basis and without money. Fortunately, my main job in human resources gives me enough flexibility to continue pursuing my hobby. Before, when I was still working in the restaurant business, I wasn't always that flexible in terms of time. But cheerleading is my top priority.

Unfortunately, I keep noticing that my sport is accompanied by many prejudices. We're just the opening act before the real show starts. "You just swing pom-poms", I am told again and again. Every time I have to laboriously explain that this is not true. Cheerleading is, after all, a recognized sport. So we are no longer drivers, but the show itself. And the pompons are just a small element in our shows. Out of three minutes of choreography, they take up maybe 30 seconds.

Cheerleading isn't just a sport for women

It's probably really bad for our men. As soon as they say they are cheerleaders, the others raise their eyebrows in irritation. After all, this is a sport for women, they say. But that's not true at all. In 1898 the two American football teams from the University of Minnesota played against the Northern University from Illinois against each other. The very first cheerleading squad consisted entirely of men. Irony of fate: female cheerleaders didn't emerge until the 1920s. And even today, the male cheerleaders are extremely important to us. We need them to support and catch. Our boys are a little stronger than our girls.

Cheerleading is a pretty demanding sport. You regularly get bruises: bruises, bruises and strains are practically normal for us. In the USA, cheerleading is even considered to be the sport with the greatest risk of injury. Everyone can perhaps imagine what happens if you spin through the air from a height of several meters and then don't really come up - for those who are above as well as those who are below. That's why the group is so important. You need trust in one another, you have to know each other's limits and approach the matter with the right attitude.

Whoever wants to be a cheerleader has to really want to be. We train three times a week, go to training camps and also have a lot of competitions. We are currently training intensively for the state championships on November 23rd. Of course we are happy about everyone who wants to join us. No matter whether big or small, thin or fat: everyone is welcome with us. Everyone finds their place. But you shouldn't be squeamish. It should be clear to everyone that they will make sacrifices, especially physical ones. After all, we are a high-performance sport - and not a gymnastics club to cheer on.

So far published: Laufen by Jan Fitschen (June 26th), archery by Lisa Unruh (July 2nd), gymnastics by Philipp Herder (July 12th), water polo by Melanie Friese (July 14th), boxing by Robert Maess (July 18th), rhythmic gymnastics by Anni Qu (July 21), shot put by Niko Kappel (July 23), kickboxing by Marie Lang (July 28), rowing by Maximilian Planer (August 2), surfing by Valeska Schneider (August 12), American football by Zachary Cavanaugh ( August 19), baseball by Tim Wägner (August 29), synchronized swimming by Amélie Ebert (8.9.).

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