Acknowldeging those NFL cheerleaders

If you’re anything of a loyal reader of this blog, you know I am a fan of the New York Giants. The New York Giants do not have cheerleaders, and that is fine with me. Conversely, the Dallas Cowboys do have cheerleaders, and that has led me to something of a negative disposition toward those pompom-waving ladies who try to dance, prance, and whatever their fans into loudly cheering for the home team.

As I have traveled to different NFL stadiums, however, I have certainly taken note of some cheerleading squads, which I will guess more teams have than don’t. I have found it amusing to see them bundled up like high-kicking Michelin Men in northeast and mid-Atlantic stadiums; then again, I have seen them doing their thing in more temperate stadiums... Since a recent post focused on the different stadiums, I thought one about my “favorite” cheerleading squads may be in order.

At a Chargers game in 2000, I had a seat with something of a bird’s eye view of the cheerleaders. The Chargers played miserably, and a number of us noticed that the cheerleaders were performing well-choreographed routines, and moving better than the players. Now, I couldn’t tell you “Dancing with the Stars” from “So You Think You Can Dance”, and it was a wisecrack from a bored fan along the lines of “Well, our cheerleaders move better than the Cowgirls” that made me take notice of their footwork. But, this group was tight. I was in Miami just a year later when I noticed that the Dolphin cheerleaders were not nearly so in sync as were the Chargettes. In fact, no squad I’ve seen since danced so well.

In 2006, I made it to a Raiders game. I bought my ticket online, and arranged a Will Call pickup. When I arrived at the stadium, an employee directed me to the Will Call window via a shortcut right along the wall of the stadium. As I headed down a ramp, it seemed strange that there wasn’t a single person anywhere around, until they came in view from the opposite direction. The entire Oakland Raiders cheerleading squad, in uniform, was beginning some walk either into or around the stadium, and I was walking right at them. I wore an ear-to-ear grin, and they slowed as our paths crossed, and gave me a nice, quick personal cheer and wave. I was so disappointed to not have had my camera with me for this classic moment. They could have kept walking without acknowledging me, and I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but instead they made me smile (if not lament not having a camera handy).

On the first football Sunday last October, I made it to a Patriots game. It surprised me to learn that the Patriots had cheerleaders. But, before the game started, out they marched, looking nice in their white shorts and pink shirts. They were halfway on the field when the PA announcer said “Um, ladies, you forgot something”. They all stopped, turned around and walked off the field, and then walked out again, now in pairs, with their partner also donning a pink shirt. Only thing was, each cheerleader was paired with a breast cancer survivor. The cheerleaders did a wonderful job letting their partners have the spotlight. Without question, this was the most beautiful cheerleading moment I recall. Perhaps the way it was announced was corny, but the sight was incredible as they were projected on screen, some standing strong, some smiling, some streaming tears. I know many of us have been touched by someone lost to or fighting this disease. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and many players will incorporate pink into their uniforms (good for them!), but New England rocked it last year.

Comments

  1. Pink ribbon courtesy of http://www.carolsutton.net/download_pink-ribbon.html

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  2. What an interesting post and touching gesture made by the Patriot's cheerleaders! I have to admit that I'm guilty of not giving cheerleaders much credit. As a former gymnast, I never liked cheerleading, thinking it wasn't nearly as difficult as gymnastics, yet the cheerleaders were the popular girls in school. I'm over the whole popularity thing now, and I probably need to give them more credit for their athletic ability, too! I'm sure, like anything else, hard work and discipline in essential to performing some of those routines. I enjoyed your post!

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer! I never gave cheerleaders much credit either, until stumbling upon a competition at King's Island Amusement Park in Ohio many years ago. Theirs is a craft worthy of respect, I suppose (again, unless they're cheering the Cowboys). Then again, all of my nieces are (or were) in gymnastics, so I have to put them ahead of cheerleaders. Thanks for reading! I still enjoy your posts too.

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