The Sport of All-Star Cheerleading has increased in popularity in Nova Scotia immensely over the last 20 years! In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, cheerleading Athletes typically competed for their school or university teams. The local sport of All Star Cheerleading started to appear in the late 1990’s in Nova Scotia with a few clubs opening, in Dartmouth, Halifax, Truro and Cape Breton.
All-Star Cheerleading teams are typically comprised of 15-36 athletes with a variety of skills and abilities. There can be solid, well-rounded athletes and those who have particularly strong abilities. Some Cheerleaders join the sport with a background of dancing, gymnastics, circus and/or just a passion for the sport! The coaches create a routine that has elements of tumbling, stunting, dance, jumping, libs and other skills set to music. The routines are typically 2 1/2 minutes in length. At competitions, the teams are divided by age and ability level (for the 2018/19 age grids, click here). The routines are judged by their level of difﬁculty, precision, creativity, and entertainment value.
History of Cheerleading, according to Wikipedia:
“Cheerleading began during the late 18th century with the rebellion of male students. After the American Revolutionary War, students experienced harsh treatment from teachers. In response to faculty’s abuse, college students violently acted out. The undergraduates began to riot, burn down buildings located on their college campuses, and assault faculty members. As a more subtle way to gain independence, however, students invented and organized their own extracurricular activities outside their professors’ control. This brought about American sports, beginning first with collegiate teams.
In the 1860s, students from Great Britain began to cheer and chant in unison for their favorite athletes at sporting events. Soon, that gesture of support crossed overseas to America.
Organized cheerleading started as an all-male activity. As early as 1877, Princeton University had a “Princeton Cheer”, documented in the February 22, 1877, March 12, 1880, and November 4, 1881, issues of The Daily Princetonian. This cheer was yelled from the stands by students attending games, as well as by the athletes themselves. The cheer, “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-h!” remains in use with slight modifications today, where it is now referred to as the “Locomotive”.
Princeton class of 1882 graduate Thomas Peebles moved to Minnesota in 1884. He transplanted the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota. The term “Cheer Leader” had been used as early as 1897, with Princeton’s football officials having named three students as Cheer Leaders: Thomas, Easton, and Guerin from Princeton’s classes of 1897, 1898, and 1899, respectively, on October 26, 1897. These students would cheer for the team also at football practices, and special cheering sections were designated in the stands for the games themselves for both the home and visiting teams.
It was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!”, making Campbell the very first cheerleader.
November 2, 1898 is the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a “yell leader” squad of six male students, who still use Campbell’s original cheer today. In 1903, the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma, was founded.
In 1923, at the University of Minnesota, women were permitted to participate in cheerleading. However, it took time for other schools to follow. In the late 1920s, many school manuals and newspapers that were published still referred to cheerleaders as “chap,” “fellow,” and “man”. Women cheerleaders were overlooked until the 1940s. In the 1940s, collegiate men were drafted for World War II, creating the opportunity for more women to make their way onto sporting event sidelines. As noted by Kieran Scott in Ultimate Cheerleading: “Girls really took over for the first time.” An overview written on behalf of cheerleading in 1955 explained that in larger schools, “occasionally boys as well as girls are included,”, and in smaller schools, “boys can usually find their place in the athletic program, and cheerleading is likely to remain solely a feminine occupation.” During the 1950s, cheerleading in America also increased in popularity. By the 1960s, some began to consider cheerleading a feminine extracurricular for boys, and by the 1970s, girls primarily cheered at public school games. However, this did not stop its growth. Cheerleading could be found at almost every school level across the country, even pee wee and youth leagues began to appear.
In 1975, it was estimated by a man named Randy Neil that over 500,000 students actively participated in American cheerleading from grade school to the collegiate level. He also approximated that ninety-five percent of cheerleaders within America were female. Since 1973, cheerleaders have started to attend female basketball and other all-female sports as well.
As of 2005, overall statistics show around 97% of all modern cheerleading participants are female, although at the collegiate level, cheerleading is co-ed with about 50% of participants being male.
Currently in Nova Scotia, we have 19 clubs that belong to Cheer Nova Scotia (Cheer NS). These clubs range from private All Star Cheerleading Clubs to University teams. We have over 2000 Athletes ranging from age 3 to 70!