A few days before each game, the squad receives The Gameday Sheet, which is more than just a checklist, itinerary or memo. It is a fun, colorful and scrapbook-worthy handout that lists important gameday information like our report time, rehearsal attire, what to pack, our scheduled dances, fun photos and more.
Former DCC, Pro Bowl representative and five-year veteran Brandy Redmond started the tradition of The Gameday Sheet. Following her retirement, Misty Duncan (five-year veteran, Pro Bowl) continued the tradition. After Misty retired, Justine Phillips-Orf (five-year veteran, Pro Bowl) created The Gameday Sheet for two seasons.
As the years have passed, I’ve fondly looked back at all of my Gameday Sheets. I have every one since my very first game at Texas Stadium, and I love how each one serves as a time capsule of sorts for me, reminding me of each gameday experience.
Speaking of Texas Stadium, “back in the day” before Cowboys Stadium, when weather played a huge factor, our Gameday Sheets had a spot for the Gameday Forecast.
I literally can’t help but to cringe when reading 100+ degrees on sheet after sheet, remembering how the soles of my boots literally melted on the hot turf while I danced and pranced around the field as if I was on hot coals. I laugh hysterically when reading a forecast that says “chance of rain” as this forecast was actually wrong and the rain hit the day before the game when we performed at the Cowboys annual “Silver & Blue Debut” open practice. This was the day that Kelli came into the locker room as we were frantically trying to fluff and puff before our next field performance and said, “If your hair is a mess, add more lipstick.” As many of you have seen on my DCC profile, this Kelli quote is actually one of my all-time favorites. However, the part of the quote that I elected to leave out (until now) was “Ally, you’re going to need A LOT more lipstick” after looking directly at me trying to fix my drenched, hopeless hair. I typically and robotically say “YES MA’AM,” but on this day, I couldn’t help but to just laugh (with her, of course).
I love looking over the Gameday Forecast for Thanksgiving 2007. It was early Thanksgiving morning, and we were on the field in the FREEZING cold practicing with Kelly Clarkson for the halftime show. After several times running through the show, and 10 frozen toes later, Kelly, who was an incredibly engaging, humble and entertaining person to work with, commended our squad for our hard work and perseverance through the impossible cold.
Whew, that shout out sure did get us pumped for the game and certainly helped us get through the remainder of our practice. We performed our pregame performance to the sold-out, energized crowd and proceeded to our first quarter positions. Just minutes into the quarter, I glanced up at the hole in the roof, as I often did in my two seasons at Texas stadium, and beautiful, white flakes of snow were dancing in the air as they approached the field. I started screaming and jumping up and down, confusing my group because nothing had happened on the field to warrant such an outburst, but I was so excited to have snow on Thanksgiving! We got to wear our navy, satin coats for that game and pretty, perfectly white gloves. We even had hot chocolate on the sidelines instead of Gatorade or water. Just as I remember the sentiment of the snow from that game, I am reminded of the actual halftime show.
I mentioned earlier that Kelly Clarkson had inspired us to push through the cold (and now the snow) to give our best performance possible. Feeding off of that energy, I had the performance of a lifetime. It was my first Thanksgiving halftime show, and I was on cloud nine – numb toes and all!
As a rookie, I performed the whole show on the field, but that year the Group Leaders, Seconds and Show Group members earned spots dancing on the stage with Kelly. After the performance was over and we went back into the locker room to re-group before the second half, all of our stage performers were talking about how someone slipped and fell, they couldn’t dance full out, and something about it being an “ice rink” up there.
I had no clue what they were talking about until after the game when I went home and watched my recording of the show. Sure enough, Kelly’s stage was an amazing design with great lighting, but what was supposed to be “fog/smoke” (made by dry ice) had actually turned the stage into an ice rink after all. I watched as our elite dancers and best performers skated across the stage, trying their best to perform Judy’s elaborate and unique choreography. At one point, the camera zoomed in on Kelly and in the background you see DCC boots just slipping and sliding all over the place. We all look back at that and laugh hysterically and shake our heads in amazement about how none of us got hurt. (Want to see what I’m talking about? Pay close attention to the DCC in the last song “Since You’ve Been Gone:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOgpQzKvGCI)
I think my favorite Gameday Sheet is the one Justine made for the very first game at Cowboys Stadium. Sticking with tradition, there was a spot for the Gameday Forecast. We were all so excited to be indoors in a climate-controlled stadium that Justine cleverly wrote “We Don’t Have to Worry about This Anymore!” across the box as a joke. But for all of us Texas Stadium girls, we realized right after that first game was over, we missed our hole in the roof. So, for the inaugural game moving forward that season, Justine included a forecast on the Gameday Sheet.
Now that I’ve taken a detour down memory lane, I’ll put a dead end on this street by saying that I am extremely excited and honored to be carrying on the tradition of creating the squad’s Gameday Sheet for the second consecutive season! As many of my teammates will attest, I am extremely detailed and LOVE checklists, so naturally that part of the Gameday Sheet is fun for me.
I don’t sleep much, or as my mom says, I’m a “night owl,” so I typically work on Gameday Sheets (and website articles for that matter) between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. when I’m wide awake. I truly enjoy putting together The Gameday Sheet, and thank my teammates for giving me the opportunity to legitimize my DCC O/C tendencies. It is my hope that these sheets will continue to serve as special reminders of our time together as Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!
Throughout the season I will be sharing our Gameday Sheets, along with a candid recap of our gameday experience, with you so you can get a behind-the-scenes look at our 2011 season. With each sheet, you’ll get to see personal photos, our gameday playlist, how early we report to Cowboys Stadium and more.
More to come…