10 Fun Facts About Cheerleading That Will Blow Your Socks Off

Youth cheerleading pom poms

If an American was to ask a foreigner about American culture, they would probably explain Hollywood, Thanksgiving, football, and cheerleading.

Cheerleading is a quintessential American sport because it barely exists in other countries. But while the average person thinks that cheerleaders are just girls who flounce on the football field with cheerleader pom poms, this is untrue. In reality, this sport has a very interesting and complex history. Here are some interesting facts about cheerleading that are quite surprising.

1. Cheerleading started out as an all male sport in the late 1800s at Princeton University. Since then it has grown to be a female dominant activity, but many famous American males were all cheerleaders at one point in time. Namely Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and George W. Bush.

2. The first cheer ever recorded was “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-h!”, and was known as the Princeton Cheer. It is still in use today.

3. The first cheerleading fraternity was founded in 1903, and was called Gamma Sigma.

4. Women joined cheerleading at universities across the nation in 1923. But the sport really took off for women during World War II when the men were out fighting. This was when cheerleader pom poms, plastic megaphones, and custom pom poms with each school’s colors really rose to popularity.

5. Lawrence Herkimer, known as “Herkie”, formed the National Cheerleaders Associated (NCA) in 1948. As a former cheerleader at the Southern Methodist University, Herkie founded this club as a means to connect cheerleaders across the country, while holding clinics for the sport. The first cheerleading clinic was in Huntsville, Texas and 52 girls attended.

6. There are an estimated 4 million cheerleaders across the United States, and a full 80% of all high schools have a team.

7. The Dallas Cowboys football team was the first team to have an official cheerleading squad. This squad was called the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and they were for the 1972-73 season. They quickly gained fame because of their matching outfits, metallic cheer poms, and choreographed dance moves.

8. ESPN first cheerleader broadcast was the 1983 National High School Cheerleading Competition.

9. Texas is considered to be the Cheerleading Capital of the United States.

10. This is one of the most dangerous sports out there. Cheerleading pyramids gone wrong can cause broken arms, elbow injuries, broken noses, knee fractures, and sprained wrists and ankles.

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