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Basketball vs Cheerleading

In the next matchup of round one, basketball takes on cheerleading for the right to move on to round two.

Vote Total:67%

Which Sport Creates the Ultimate Athlete?
Winner!

Vote Total:33%

Tale of the Tape Overview
Each week we will match two sports against each other in a tournament style bracket and you, the fan, can vote for which you think produces top athletes.  The winning sport will advance in our tournament bracket and at the end we will crown one sport the "Ultimate Sport".  Along with the matchups, we will feature one top athlete from each sport and they will engage in a head-to-head heated debate.   

Voting will start on Thursday's and end on Wednesday's.  There will be a new matchup every week with the final matchup starting on Nov. 20.  Good luck!    

The Debate
Duncanville High (Texas) All-American guard Ariel Atkins and Westlake High (Austin, Texas) cheerleading national champ Kathleen Cooke go head to head in defending their sport.

What’s a misconception about your sport?

  • Girls are not as good as boys. Both of the games are intense. We can do everything they do. The only difference is that their bodies are made different from ours. Even the unathletic dudes who don’t play can still dunk and all of that.

  • A lot of people just see cheerleaders as the girls on the sideline. Really, there’s a lot that goes into practice. We push through pain just like everyone else. A lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is to have someone stand on your hands in the air — it looks easy because we’ve been doing it for so long.

What’s the second-toughest sport behind yours?

  • Football because of the severe career-ending injuries that can happen with almost any hit.

  • Football because players are constantly hit, and the sport takes a lot of mind work.

What’s the best measure of an athlete (e.g., strength, speed, quickness, agility, etc.)?

  • Mental toughness. You need it to get through certain things because your coach is going to challenge you. If you don’t have mental toughness, there’s no way you can make it through some practices. Mental toughness also goes with being smart about the game. You can be the most athletic person, but if you don’t have the IQ [for the game], you’re just another body on the court.

  • Mental strength. Every sport [involves] something scary — from getting hit in football to performing a flip in cheerleading. Having mental stability and confidence is really key.

What makes basketball more difficult than cheerleading and vice versa?

  • Cheerleaders do a lot and are very strong. I know because my sister is a cheerleader. The difference [with basketball] is the physicality — the contact in the game.

  • It takes a lot of strength to do flips and stunts. When we compete, it takes a lot of time to learn a routine. Even though it’s three minutes, it involves back-to-back flips and stunts, and it’s a lot harder that people think.

What attribute(s) do you need for basketball that cheerleaders don’t require and vice versa?

  • Mental toughness. You have to be able to take hits on the court. When you fall, you’ve got to get back up and not worry if the crowd is looking at you because it doesn’t matter at the moment.

  • Confidence. When you perform, you have to know the right techniques, and you have to squeeze all the muscles in your body to make yourself lighter in the air. If you don’t, you will be dropped.

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