If you were in the stands at LP Field on Sunday, you witnessed a defining moment for the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. Just as the organization is celebrating its ten year anniversary, the cheerleaders are as well and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to invite Alumni cheerleaders back to dance one more time.
The theme of our halftime show was "Past, Present and Future" and the 200 women on the field were made up of 31 current team members, over 100 Junior Titans Cheerleaders and more than 70 Alumni Cheerleaders. The Alumni practiced twice before game day which allowed a lot of time for old team members to share stories of where certain dances, moves, and traditions started. We still do some of the same routines on the side lines that they did ten years ago! The organization has changed a lot since it's inception in 1999 when the team was co-ed and involved stunting. And it was very neat to hear the evolution of the team from the women who lived it themselves.
Game day was full of emotions for all of us. For the Alumni, it was a chance to relive some of their best memories. For the current members, it was a time to appreciate all of the hard work members before us put into laying the groundwork for the team we have today. And for our director, it was an opportunity to reflect on how much the organization has grown and a look back at the high caliber of women this team has been fortunate to have as members.
In the locker room, current members were pointing out women they had aspired to be like before making the team. Finally we were able to put faces to names of legendary women we had heard stories about. And as for the Alumni, they were busy comparing what it was like when they cheered to what it's like for us now. It was impressive to see how many of them have gone on to have impressive careers while being mothers at the same time. I think as women, we want to tackle the world and be the best at everything we're involved in and figuring out how that can be accomplished is overwhelming. But seeing all of these women who have been in our shoes go on to do bigger and better things while raising a family was truly inspirational to us. In fact if you looked closely, three of the Alumni Cheerleaders who danced are currently pregnant. That's right, they were dancing their hearts out on the field with a little one on the way. And two of our team members from last year – Kerry and Mindy – both had their first child within the last month-and-a-half and still danced! All I have to say is those women are tough, committed, and a great inspiration to all of us.
By request, the original 1999 Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders that helped cheer the Titans to the Super Bowl were invited up to Bud Adams personal suite. You could feel the connection between the Alumni Cheerleaders and Mr. Adams as soon as they were in the same room. And you could almost see each and every one of them re-living those sets of memorable events that took place the very first season of the Titans. It was just one more touching moment of the day.
Also on the field were nearly 50 Junior Titans Cheerleaders who are hopefully the future of our team. In fact, we have a current Titans Cheerleader, Erica, who was once a Junior Titans Cheerleader. This was my second year to be a group leader for one of the four groups and I can't tell you what a fulfilling role it has been. My group called ourselves The Spectacular Sisters again this year and I had about ten girls return to my group from last year. It was very touching to see them run up to me on the first day of practice and want to update me on their lives. We held three weekend practices to get the Junior Cheerleaders ready for their halftime performance and I'm amazed with how much choreography they learned. They were so eager to learn and the littlest things such as showing them the correct way to hold their poms put a smile on their face. But nothing compared to their excitement on game day. They all arrived with their Titans cheerleading uniforms on and their hair and makeup all fixed to "cheerleader quality." All of them were overwhelmed by the 70 thousand fans that surrounded them, but they couldn't wait to run onto to field and dance! It was their time to shine and their opportunity to strut their stuff.
In all, the entire day was something none of us will ever forget and it's something that may not happen for another ten years. Our director always reminds us to cherish each moment as an NFL Cheerleader because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. And in a post-game email from her, she pointed out that we often rush around trying to mark thinks off of our to-do list without enjoying the moment and relishing in our accomplishments. This weekend was a chance for us as a team to pause and remember where we came from, how far we've come, and what an exciting future we have to look forward to.
See you at the game! GO TITANS!