The History of Cheerleading

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By: Nazli Mohideen

While athletes participate in all types of cheerleading such as All-Star, Professional, and Recreational, the root of the sport traces back to this very state. There was a college football game between Rutgers Universi- ty and Princeton University in the year 1884. At first, the word “cheerleader” was used to describe the enthu- siastic student section from Princeton, which repeated certain chants over the duration of the game.

Years went by after this game until Thomas Peebles, a former graduate from Princeton University, went to the University of Minnesota and mentioned the con- cept of chanting during sports games. John Campbell was a student at the University of Minnesota at the time and initiated the first-ever organized cheer during a football game.

In due time, the idea caught traction and Gamma Sigma was formed at the school as its cheer fraternity. Here, members chanted using large megaphones, but did not partake in the typical cheerleading stunts we now see during sporting events today.

Cheerleading began as a predominantly male sport, but women became involved, too, during the 1920s. This was when the more traditional cheerleading prac- tices started like stunts and routines for entertainment purposes.

Eventually cheerleading expanded even more. Near- ly every high school and college across America has a cheerleading team, uniforms and pom poms have be- come second nature for cheerleaders to have, and the media covers cheerleaders on channels like ESPN.

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