Trying out for an NFL Cheer team

“Are you the girl who hitch-hiked here?!” asked New York Jets Cheerleading Director 

I was confused as to how quickly gossip spread during an interview for the Jets Flight Crew Making the Squad Web Series. I simply answered with shameful pride “Yes, that was me”.

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A lot of emotions were stirring in that huge stadium box office room; did I just make a positive or negative impression? Surely she will remember me…how badly do I want to be on another cheerleading team?  Is my dad laughing from above, knowing he bought my first pair of dance shoes before my last catastrophic audition for the Texas Tech Cheer Dance team?  What exactly are my odds of making it on a professional cheerleading team when all these beautiful, talented girls are trying out? How am I getting home?

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I had an epiphany during this interview. While it was held in New Jersey, this small ten minute session of questions amongst eight other people had me thinking how relatable it is to my New York experience: politics, networking, weeding out over-confident bullshiters, fake images, and basically an entire sea of people desperately trying to align their entire future.

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Something overcame me in this moment.  I was sick of it.  While I had nothing to lose for being honest, I was simply tired of exaggerating to excel.  Perhaps it was the recent loss of my father, and the realization that life is STILL too short.  Or perhaps it was the enigma felt between Jet’s Flight Crew Coach (Denise Garvey) and I; while I recently learned of her accomplishments, it wasn’t until sitting face-to-face with her that I completely respected her.  She flooded back happy memories of my high school dance coach, Mrs. Gardner-Shore. Just like my former dance coach, I unexpectedly wanted to please her, make her proud of me, be under her wings.

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As you all know, New York is certainly not the place to feel this vulnerability.  It is the city the strongest, loneliest, talented and most lost, yet successful people magnetize toward.  Like an onion, you do not show more than your top layer here, otherwise you will be steamed and cooked.  During the past six months in the big apple, I’ve learned that you have to put your foot down, chin high, yet humble, and base everything on your word…because at the end of the day, isn’t that all you have in this sea of empty promises?

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While there are many weeks of classes, preliminaries, dance classes (and hopefully solos), and interviews ahead, I can honestly say I walked out of that Stadium feeling like an entirely refreshed, new woman.  Regardless of this outcome, this small obstacle in my entire book of life, the consequences feel positive.  While I cannot see it, progress is being made, and in which direction nobody knows nor cares.

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There is an understanding and respect toward all the hard-working people who have a dream.  All of us have a dream, a vast hope for the future – even if it is blurred between social standards of destruction.

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So don’t panic, don’t plan, don’t pretend.  Just go with it.  It is so easy to forget that we have a purpose, and in rare occasions, can we free ourselves by calling a spade a spade, and going forward into the unknown.

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