Some adjectives that may describe a cheerleader include enthusiastic, high-spirited, athletic, popular, pretty and dedicated, while some nouns include motivator and leader. Although most cheerleaders exhibit many of these qualities, their main characteristic is the ability to lead and motivate a crowd to cheer on their respective teams.
To perform many of their routines, including tumbling, doing gymnastic stunts and dancing, cheerleaders must be athletic. Another quality important to cheerleading is being dedicated to working hard in this sport while also exhibiting enthusiasm.
The history of cheerleading dates back to the early 20th century, when the University of Minnesota started a male squad. Women did not become cheerleaders for school games until the 1920s. In the beginning, cheerleading was limited to college campuses. However, cheerleading became popular at the high school level in the 1950s. Today, cheerleading is recognized as a sport, and cheerleaders also are an integral part of many professional basketball and football teams.