The Bay Area Super Bowl has come and gone…and the reality is we probably won’t see it again here anytime soon. Locals are glad the traffic is gone and city life will return to “normal.” I’m glad that it came through the Bay and I was lucky enough to attend some of the events and fanfare leading up to it. No, I didn’t go to the game, lots of people kept asking me if I was going, but I’m more of the mindset that if my team’s not in it, I’m better off watching from the convenience of my couch. I did however attend some of the preceding week’s pre-game soirees around town. I’ve posted some of my favorite snaps from my Super Bowl week in the City below…
I’m a former NFL Cheerleader for 2 different NFL teams (Raiders and Cardinals) and recently we had a reunion with women representing 24 different teams over the past 50 years! Anyhow, my “roomie” for the event was Shannon Oleen, a former KC Chiefs Cheerleader turned Inspirational Speaker. She was one of the speakers during our Saturday night gala and delivered a great message to all the attendees, preceded by her very TRUE and very FUNNY “Top 10 — You know you were a (former) NFL Cheerleader IF…” She tested it (the list) out on me beforehand and she was dead on!!!
So, I wanted to re-post her blog and share it with all of you!!! And — to all my fellow NFL Cheerleaders (Alumni, Current and Future), would love it if you chimed in on just HOW TRUE this all is!!!
Top 10 Reasons, you know you were a former NFL Cheerleader:
10. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because to this day, you cannot take a photo without the classic top pop.
9. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because you have the best grapevine in your Zumba class.
8. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because you have mastered the art of putting on eyelashes or nails, while driving. Shhhh!
7. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because to this day you can still educate any man about the game of football, all of the rules and you can spot a tight end from a mile away, because you know your football facts!
6. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, if you are out for a girls weekend and you happen to bust out into sidelines #6.
5. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because you know exactly which number, and which shade of red lipstick suits you.
4. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because you’ve been asked a 1,000 times how many, and which players you’ve dated.
3. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because to this day, your husband’s cousin’s boyfriend still asks you if you can get free tickets to this year’s season home opener.
2. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because every time you step into a stadium, you get that tingle in your belly when you hear the national anthem.
1. You know you were a former NFL Cheerleader, because at the NFL Cheer Alumni Reunion, we took over the dance floor all night long.
I had a whirlwind weekend in Atlanta this past weekend, and while I would’ve loved to have been able to have been there a little longer, it was an unforgettable 24 hours in the ATL. The reason that brought me there was to attend the 2014 national Football Cheerleaders Reunion. The event is still in it’s baby stages, this only being the 2nd reunion ever to include all Alumni from NFL teams across the map. I missed the 1st reunion in 2012, as I had just had my first child, but I knew I wasn’t going to miss this one! The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni hosted this event, and did an absolutely amazing job putting it all together. I’m so glad my limited time did not deter me from attending, it was so totally worth it to be there for the Saturday night gala and stand among some 250+ women, all Alumni of the various NFL Cheers teams…even the ones that don’t exist anymore!
There is nothing like being in a room full of women who have gone through the auditions, practices, workouts and game days you love and cherish. It’s an amazing almost indescribable experience, an instant bond, like being in a sorority, a real sisterhood where you KNOW these women KNOW exactly what it’s like to stand and cheer on the NFL sidelines.
All in all, 24 teams spanning 50 years of NFL Cheerleading, were represented, some that don’t even exist anymore. So if you didn’t know…now you do. The Pittsburgh Steelerettes, Chicago Honey Bears and Houston Oilers Derrick Dolls all had alumni in attendance. And –while I was the lone Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader alumni, there was also a former St. Louis Cardinals cheerleader in the building!
In the photo above are current and former directors of NFL Cheer Teams…and in the center is Suzanne Mitchell, the original director for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, a legendary woman, who spoke to us about how it all came to be…it was such an emotional moment feeling the deep love and appreciation everyone in the room has for her, knowing she was a huge part in paving the way for what the opportunity has become today.
I had a great time meeting A Raiderette sister, Elaine, who was an LA Raiderette before moving to Indy where she danced for the Pacers and Colts. I met the very sweet Lisa Guerrero who is a fellow broadcaster and former LA Rams Cheerleader…her resume also includes directing the Falcons and Patriots Cheerleaders. My roomie for the weekend is a fellow AFC West Alumni Cheerleader, Shannon Oleen who was a Chiefs Cheerleader. She is also an amazing public speaker who delivers inspirational messages and impressed at the Alumni Gala with her “10 Reasons You KNOW You’re an NFL Cheerleader.” All of them, so much fun!!!
There is nothing like line dancing and doing the “Wobble” with 200 plus former cheerleaders or busting out with game day choreography with your sisters on the dance floor. Cheers go out to Mickey Crawford who runs the Atlanta Alumni group and made this reunion happen, along with Terri Lamb who is the head of the Redskins Cheer Alumni group. I have had the pleasure of knowing them both for a few years now and I see their vision for uniting all the talented and amazing women who all share the distinction of being NFL Cheerleaders. I feel so blessed to have made so many new friends and just to be part of this elite network of women who are my sisters. I can’t wait for our next shin dig in 2016! Buffalo or bust!!!
Yes, I was an Oakland Raiderette…and am still a proud alumni! So news of a lawsuit by a current – on her way out former Raiderette from the most recent season has hit the media, and I couldn’t resist giving my 2 cents, okay it’s more like a lot of SENSE!! And this all comes on the heels of a new petition on behalf of ALL NFL Cheerleaders (completely unrelated) to get MORE PAY!
Check these links for background:
Busted Coverage – Cheerleader Sues Raiders for Withholding Pay & Not Paying Minimum Wage **this article contains a copy of the actual lawsuit paperwork filed**
ESPN – Cheerleader Files Suit Against Raiders
Pay Petition – for all NFL Teams Cheerleaders
But seriously, this is sparking so much debate among Raiderette Alumni and people in general, that I just had to put my thoughts down and share…so here goes…
YES…being a PRO TEAM Dancer/Cheerleader is a low paying job…I’ve been on 3 teams in the NBA and NFL. Do I believe the compensation should be more, yes, that would be nice to be paid for my time and talent, but here’s the reality (from my dancing days):
- Cheerleaders (Raiders) are paid a per game stipend, practice is not paid and certain community/charity events may also be non paid. There are other paid appearance opportunities and you are always told the pay, location and summary of all events before you sign up. Other pro teams do receive a minimum wage for practice. You also receive tickets for the game as part of the compensation.
- Team members sign a contract acknowledging and agreeing to the terms of pay, attendance, expectations (hair, makeup, nails, citizenship, etc…), duties, hours, and it is often a requirement for those selected to hold some type of job or be a student outside of the team.
- Members are required to maintain and meet fitness/appearance requirements, all of which are discussed and agreed to…gym membership and stylist discounts are also given by sponsors. And while some of the ladies may take that as required weekly manicures or regular haircuts and color, those are optional expenses the ladies incur at their own discretion…again they AGREED to this.
- Travel to appearances may sometimes be out of area, but if you sign up to drive 90 miles, I’m saying, don’t complain about it.
- Fines are incurred when you are late for practice, games, events or if you forget required equipment, attire, etc… I have no issue with this, money is the best motivator to get people to stay on top of their game.
So my thing is, at auditions… candidates are WELL AWARE of what it takes to make the team and what the job entails, if selected among the HUNDREDS, sometimes THOUSANDS of hopefuls. I think the general public assumes it is a full time job and doesn’t realize the reality of what goes on behind the glamour – hours of practice, appearances and prep, but truth be told, after all the hard work, hours of sweat, all the tears shed, dedication and miles driven, what you take home doesn’t even cover gas costs! However, the majority (if not all) of the ladies in the pro ranks aren’t doing it “for the money.” What this job offers are priceless memories and friendships, unique experiences and once in a lifetime opportunities. As a pro team cheerleader I was able to network and meet countless top level executives from a wide range of industries, work alongside community leaders and influencers, travel and represent teams in the most elite sports leagues and given the platform to be part of game day entertainment in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans!
Honestly, this gets me worked up because I am protective of the “sisterhood.” I do see the point of being paid more and it would be well-deserved, but the reality is that being a Raiderette or part of any pro team is a privilege and honor, that is priceless!! IF this suit is successful, I think a few things could happen. It may be possible that teams do away with cheerleaders altogether or make it a volunteer job with NO stipend. However, since the cheerleaders are vital to branding and bring in millions of dollars for the team, maybe they shrink the squads down to only a dozen or less, to make them full-time staff. But, let’s be honest, the hundreds of women that try out would do it for free, and these days the spots are so coveted that they enlist the coaching of people like me, through Going Pro Entertainment, to give them advice and pointers on how to make a team!
It will be interesting to see what happens. I worked full time outside of my position as a pro team cheerleader/dancer, with each team I was lucky enough to be a member of…and I would do it all over again for the same “low” pay.
I LOVE this image from the NFL today as Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin takes the field… I applaud him for bringing more awareness to the need for more support in Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief. The Philippine flag (even if it is upside down) never looked more brilliant, beautiful and proud! 🙂
Fall is here and the NFL football season is in full swing, MLB playoffs are upon us and another NBA season is just around the corner. So if you’re looking to get some gear that’s not your typical “sports” t-shirts and sayings, check out www.tonypsd.bigcartel.com
I’m working with Tony on some new graphics for my newest passion project – look out for that, but in the meantime I wanted to share some of his fun designs reppin’ the Bay! 🙂 I know Oakland A’s fans (old and new) need some fresh gear for the playoffs & SF Giants fans represent for the Sucka Free regardless.
And — some examples of the designs for the Raider Nation and 49er Faithful…
Let’s not forget the Golden State Warriors who are poised for another incredible season or the San Jose Sharks!!
Alright, alright…be sure to check it out!! www.tonypsd.bigcartel.com
SAVE THE DATE!!
The next reunion for the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni (former NFL Cheerleaders) is August 1st-3rd in 2014. We know it is early, but we want you to mark your calendars to plan to be there. The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni are excited to be hosting it in Atlanta, GA. Click here http://www.nationalfootballcheerleadersalumni.com/events.html to see the fun at the reunion held in 2012 hosted by the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni. We hope to see you there!
Pro Team Cheer and Dance Audition season is in full swing! It used to start in the spring with NFL, but these days it seems like a year round business, with the ultra competitive NFL Cheerleader tryouts, followed by NBA Dance Team auditions, being the highlight of the “season.”
It’s not uncommon for women to train year round to either keep their spot on a squad, or audition for entry onto one of these prestigious organizations! The key to “joining the club” is to be a great performer with the “total” package, and to be successful you’ve got to have all your bases covered. From dance technique, to audition wear, hair and makeup presentation, speaking skills, fitness and more…it takes a LOT of thought and preparation to BE READY. And — the best way to have you game face ready at tryout time is to take prep classes and/or personalized coaching to put your best foot forward! Many of the teams offer workshops to help candidates prepare, and companies like Going Pro Entertainment, also host prep classes to help these ladies put their best foot forward!
Check out this video from the 2013 Houston Going Pro Expo!
Next stop is Miami on Sunday, March 10 >>
You don’t want to miss out on the All-Star roster complete with Master Dance Classes, Pageant & Fitness Industry Pros, as well as other Entertainment experts. The Miami Expo offers everything you need to learn how to make it in the industry! Whether you want to be a pageant queen, fitness competitor or are thinking about what it would be like to join the ranks of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, Miami HEAT dancers or Florida Panthers Ice Dancers…THIS is the event for you!!! Use promo code MIAMIPRO for a $5.00 per person individual entry discount.
And — Going Pro will be in Atlanta area on Sunday May 5th!!