I’ve always wanted to be an NFL Cheerleader for the New England Patriots. My mom has owned her own dance studio for over 40 years, and I’ve spent my entire life dancing. I’ve been a diehard Patriots fan for as long as I remember, and many of her studio alumni become Patriots cheerleaders. In 2013, when I was 20 years old, I decided it was time to go out for the squad. Actually making it has turned out to take much more than just courage and practice.
My preparation began months before audition day. Every meal and workout was meticulously planned. Training encompassed cardio, weight training, flexibility and dance technique. All of these things needed to come together perfectly by audition day. I even prepared mentally; I studied videos and pictures, the team’s website—anything I could find, but I still felt like I was walking in blind.
My first audition was amazing. All I wanted to do was to make it past the first round, to know I’d caught the judges’ eyes. To my surprise and excitement, I not only made it past the first cut at preliminaries, I made it to the final round. I was in disbelief. Depending on the year, anywhere from 300-500 girls go out for the squad.
We had two weeks to get ready. We prepared for our swimsuit round and interview, and then performed our choreographed dances and solo routine. Because you’ve been given 2 weeks to perfect the dances, mistakes are not tolerated. I was in one of the first groups to perform, and I was a nervous wreck. As many dancers will tell you with big performances, you completely black out and let muscle memory and the joy of performing take over, and that’s just what I did. I left the dance floor feeling great; I didn’t mess up and I felt confident in what I showed the judges. Then came the hardest part: waiting. Everyone was on edge, staring intently at the closed door of the deliberation room.
Finally, the director came out with her clipboard of names, in no particular order. With every name the…