As Cheerleaders Soar Higher, By Bill Pennington: Article Analysis

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Cheerleading is more than pompoms, short skirts and bows. It is multiple backflips, pyramids

and countless hours of practice. However, cheerleading has changed over time. Award winning

journalist, sportswriter and author, Bill Pennington emphasizes the need for better training and a

strengthening of regulations to reduce the number student athletes being injured during cheer

activities. Pennington’s article, “As Cheerleaders Soar Higher, So does the Danger”, was

published on March 31, 2007, in The New York Times. In the article he describes cheer in this

way, “For decades, they stood by safe and smiling, a fixture on America’s sidelines . . . young

cheerleaders may be in peril more than any female athletes …show more content…

While this newspaper targets the general public, the author’s

audience is made up of those people most likely to have an interest in sports and who read the

sports pages of the newspaper. The emphasis placed on injuries by the author and his use of

specific incidences and data make his argument about the growth of cheerleading injuries

particularly persuasive. He adopted dramatic examples of injuries in setting a tone of importance

in order to appeal to all his readers. The purpose of the author implies cheerleading is becoming

more dangerous because of the higher degree of difficulty in the routines, the inadequate training

for coaches, and the lack of regulations. Bill Pennington’s article has data, examples and clear

definitions but it is not too technical.


Pennington’s article, “As Cheerleaders Soar Higher, So Does the Danger”, connects both the

danger involved in cheering and the fact that cheer has changed drastically. The author’s

purpose is not to place blame but to bring awareness of an existing problem. In the article,

Pennington uses ethos, pathos and logos. While Pennington explores the dangers in …show more content…

As a sportswriter, Pennington chooses his words carefully. Through the use of language which is clear, simple and easily understood he makes the article more accessible to a broader

audience. This is illustrated in the quote, “Even in high school cheerleading, there is no

uniformity of regulations. . . and little state control” (Pennington). The article offers a tone of

concern about the dangers involved in today’s cheerleading programs. There is no editorializing

in the article. A conversational style of writing is used by the author. One of Pennington’s

objectives in this article is to make his readers understand there is real danger involved in

cheerleading. Words such as “paralyzed, wheelchair, trauma, perilous, and catastrophic” are used

in the article. The author uses words like these to show the reader the seriousness of the injuries.

The connotations of these words become the basis for feelings and emotions which cause the

readers to sympathize with the stories presented by the injured cheerleaders. The last quote in the

article leaves the reader with a real sense of the results of the dangers. An injured

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