Dear Eagles Fans,
I like to say that in the world of NFL cheerleading, there comes a time when each of us must hang up the pom-poms and retire. I never thought that I would be doing this after being a part of the Eagles Cheerleaders for the past three years, but it is funny how life changes and how unpredictable those changes can be. This will be my last blog as a Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader and I am going to take this time to write about just how wonderful my experiences were and how this is something that I will never forget. Now it’s time for a trip down memory lane…
It is funny for me to think back to March of 2009 when I announced to my parents out of the blue, that I was going to audition to be an NFL cheerleader. I can still see their reactions to the news as a startling one especially since at that point in my life I had never been a huge football fan. Instead I was the girl that loved to perform and dance at football games instead of watching them. But, I followed through with my announcement and made a promise to myself that dancing was my passion and I was not going to give up until I was a member of the squad. It was that determination and love for performing that eventually, after the month long audition process, landed me a spot among 12 other women as a rookie on the 2009-2010 season. Even three years later, I can still remember walking in by myself and performing for the first time in front of the judges. Luckily, large auditions like that one were somewhat normal for me since after graduating college, I had taken time to attend many of the “cattle call” Broadway dancer auditions in NYC. But no matter how many times you audition for any sort of job, there are always nerves especially when you attend an audition alone and don’t have the comfort of being surrounded by your best friend, or members of your dance team from college. So you can imagine that on the big open call day, when hundreds of women were there, I of course felt like a needle in a haystack. However, I quickly made friends and reminded myself that whenever you audition for anything, whats most important is to have fun and enjoy the process because whatever comes out of it, auditions are always a great way to learn about yourself and challenge yourself. Having that mentality is by far the best advice I can give to anyone …if you can see the positive in any situation, then you have nothing to loose! I believe that having a thought process like that really helped me to enjoy the audition process and feel confident in myself and my dancing. However, it wasn’t just about applying that mentality to the auditions, moreover, it was a great way to experience all of the joys and opportunities that came along with being an Eagles Cheerleader for three years.
When I first made the team I only had knowledge of what it was like from veteran cheerleaders. I had no idea just how amazing each step of the journey would actually be. Being an NFL cheerleader is so much more than just cheering. I came to learn that we were ambassadors to the Eagles Organization. We were dancers, performers, role models and yes, sometimes even actors! It was the perfect way to combine everything that I love to do into one incredible job. Now, don’t get me wrong, the work was hard! The dance rehearsals were grueling and strenuous, but the entire team became a family and the bond between all of us was what made this experience different from any other. From the moment I became a cheerleader I gained 37 new friends who have become some of the most important people I know. I also worked alongside people I truly admire, respect and look up to including Barbara Zaun, the director and Suzy Zucker, the choreographer. Everything became a team effort and although we were the Eagles Cheerleaders to our fans, we were really 38 individuals, each with something unique to bring to the team that created such a dynamic and diverse group of accomplished women. That was something I loved most about being an Eagles Cheerleader, seeing the various talent among the women and knowing that each one of us contributed to the team in a special way.
Looking back on my action packed years, I am in awe over the many things I experienced and have come to realize just how memorable those moments were and how lucky each and everyone of us who at one point or another will be an NFL cheerleader are. Never would I have thought before making the team that I would model for a eco friendly swimsuit calendar, remove 600 pounds of trash with United by Blue from the Delaware river, work alongside some of the most wonderful charitable organizations like Tackling Breast Cancer and Huddle Up for Autism, perform live at Eagles games for 67,000 fans or even act with my teamamtes alongside Owen Wilson and Reese Witherspoon in their film How Do You Know. But it all happened and I can remember the excitement I felt for each and every one of these experiences and how crazy it was when reality sunk in and I was able to take a step back and think about how thankful I was for being a part of something that makes dreams a reality. I really thought that being an Eagles Cheerleader initially just meant that I would continue on with my love for dancing, but I quickly learned it was so much more than that. It wasn’t just a job to me, it was a priority in my life because I loved it so much, wanted to live it to the fullest and embrace everything that came with it because as I said before, there comes a time when all great things eventually come to an end.
Hanging up the pom-poms has not been an easy decision to make, but my life has changed in ways that I never would have imagined when I made the team 3 years ago. In a short time I will be married (one of the biggest changes in my life!) and my acting and modeling career is moving forward in exciting ways; and while I wish I could cheer forever (and at one point thought I would), it is time for me to chase new dreams and start a new chapter in my life. At our end of the season banquet when those cheerleader who are not returning take a moment to say a short speech, I told everyone that as difficult as it is to leave something as wonderful as this behind, it is important to look to the future and be excited about the road that lies ahead. I can’t wait to travel the world with my soon to be husband and head back up to NYC for Broadway auditions and of course, watch my former cheerleading life at an upcoming Eagles game from the stands…and while these new chapters are unwritten, I will forever have the memories of being an NFL cheerleader written in stone.
Our choreographer always said that one of the things she likes best about watching us over the years are we continue to be on the squad is seeing all of us mature and become strong women. I see that now especially when I look back over my photos and think about just how far I have come in those 3 short years….
Putting on the Vera Wang uniform for the 1st time after making the squad in 2009!
Winning the Dance Award at the 2010 final audition!
Offering a helping hand each year at the EYP Playground Build!
Performing with friends + teamates at this years Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama!
Leading my very first squad as Captain in 2012!
For those of you who become an Eagles Cheerleader, an exciting path lies ahead of you and whenever it is you decide to hang up those pom-poms look back on your time with the team fondly and think about how it has shaped you, for I have witnessed several things in reviewing my time on the Eagles…I went from being a rookie- knowing nothing about what it meant to be an NFL cheerleader, to leading a squad as captain and guiding new rookies along the way; I grew friendships and acquired new dance techniques, and most importantly, I grew up and came to learn a lot about myself and what it means to be a confident and driven woman. It is in leaving the Eagles that I thank everyone who made my time as a cheerleader the most amazing and memorable years ever…
To my friends who are re-auditioning in the next couple of weeks, I wish you the best of luck and know that each and everyone of you will do great and really shine on stage!
To those of you who I never had the chance to meet and are hoping to become the newest members of this years team, enjoy every minute of the process and know that it is a huge accomplishment in itself to audition and make it this far!
For those of you who make the squad, cherish the moment you get the exciting news and remember every time you are at a game, an appearance or any other fabulous opportunity that may come your way, to really appreciate it and love every second of it because this will be the start to some of the most incredible years of your life!
To Barbara and Suzy, thank you for giving me the chance to be a member of the squad for 3 years and for believing in me! You both are such wonderful people and I feel so lucky to have worked with you!
To all the Eagles Fans, thanks for being the best fans in the NFL and for taking the time to read my blogs!
I wish every member of the 2012-2013 Eagles Cheerleading squad a successful and amazing year! I can’t wait to see you all at an Eagles game this fall!
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