The time has come to say farewell, and when asked to write a letter about leaving, my first thought was how could I put this incredible experience into words? They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that statement could not be any truer than now.
It feels like yesterday that I traveled eight long hours from Mississippi with my mom and husband in hopes of making the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team. I clearly remember driving into Texas Stadium and standing in the looooong line that wrapped around. There were hundreds of DCC hopefuls dreaming of wearing the star-spangled uniform. It was definitely hard not to feel intimidated by the beautiful, talented girls that surrounded me, but I knew God had a perfect plan for my life, so I totally put my trust in Him through the grueling audition and summer-long training camp. It was by far one of the most exciting nights of my life when they announced the team, and I was officially a part of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Since then, four amazing years have flown by so quickly.
Being one of America’s Sweethearts has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. From having the opportunity to go on a USO Tour to South Korea my Rookie year to teaching Camp DCC every summer, cheering at football games, traveling all over the world, and dancing with my best friends every night at rehearsal, being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader has pushed me to be the best possible person I can be.
As a DCC, your life is filled with unforgettable moments and magical memories. I just wanted to share some of mine:
I will never forget … the night I was invited into training camp. I had no idea how hard it would be or what I was getting myself into, but I am eternally grateful that Judy and Kelli saw something in me. This was the start to living my dream as a DCC!
I will never forget … the first team meeting. Hearing Kelli talk about the Cowboys organization and the cheerleaders was so inspiring. I wanted to be a part of the team so badly before the meeting, but afterward, I wanted it even more! Kelli told us to look around at the women beside us because we would be making lifelong friends and even be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. I was married before becoming a DCC, but Kelli was definitely right, and I am so honored to say that I will be a bridesmaid in best friends Jordan Chanley’s and Ann Lux’s upcoming weddings. And if I hadn’t been married before, I probably would have had nearly 50 bridesmaids with the incredible friendships I’ve made over the past four years!
I will never forget … trying on the DCC uniform for the first time. The nerves and excitement of putting the uniform on and wanting something so badly will never be forgotten. And I’ve been so grateful to wear it and represent it in the most positive way!
I will never forget … hearing the announcer introduce the cheerleaders at my very first NFL game. There is no other feeling than standing in the tunnel at Texas Stadium hearing the words … “And now, introducing the often imitated, never equaled … Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!” I still get chills just thinking of that exceptional day.
I will never forget … being voted “Rookie of The Year” by my teammates! Being a Rookie is such a learning experience. We admired and respected our Veterans so much. Being voted Rookie of the Year with so many special Rookies was truly an honor!
I will never forget … receiving my DCC pinky ring. It’s amazing how a tiny little ring can mean so much. The promise, legacy, and bond it stands for is unbreakable!
I will never forget … being the last DCC ladies at Texas Stadium and the first DCC ladies at the new Cowboys Stadium. Like Kelli always reminds us, there are few people that can be on a team and be referred to as the “best” at what they do. To be the last ladies to step foot on the turf at Texas Stadium to the very first squad to dance on the Cowboys Star at our new stadium, I know there are very few people that have had such an amazing experience. We are a part of Cowboys history and I am just so grateful that I auditioned when I did and had the chance to grace the sidelines at two very different, yet amazing stadiums.
I will never forget … going on three USO Tours to South Korea during Christmas. Traveling overseas to visit our military was by far one of the best experiences of my life. Our troops sacrifice more than we will ever know, and just being in their presence to say “Thank you” for what they do was a life-changing experience for me. I know I came back from my first USO Tour a better person, and I’m unbelievably thankful for our military and all they do. As this year comes to an end, I imagined my final tour had passed, but I am excited to say that Ally, Kelsi and I are preparing to travel overseas to Afghanistan in a few short weeks. I have no idea what to expect, but I know it will be the trip of a lifetime and I cannot wait to personally thank our servicemen and women!
I will never forget … singing the National Anthem while wearing the iconic DCC uniform. Singing the National Anthem while being one of America’s Sweethearts was mind blowing to me. I loved every second of singing with my beautiful friends and have never felt so patriotic!
I will never forget … cheering on game day for the Cowboys on the world’s biggest “stage.” When I was a little girl, I knew that I had a passion and love for dance that is inexpressible, but I never even dreamed of dancing on a “stage” as big as our beautiful stadium. The excitement of cheering for a 100,000 people is like no other, and I will forever remember dancing as big as I possibly could for the best fans and team in the NFL!
I will never forget … the smiles on fan’s faces when we visited Children’s Hospitals and nursing homes, as well as during other community service appearances. The community service opportunities we have as DCC are truly life changing. From visiting a little baby with cancer to talking one-on-one with a military veteran to visiting nursing homes, it is possibly the best feeling to see someone’s face just light up when they see a DCC. I know that I will still be involved with volunteering after I’m a DCC, but there is something so special about our uniform, the hope it stands for, and the happiness it can bring to so many people.
I will never forget … the fun and crazy locker room memories! From sharing/fighting over plug-ins for our curling irons at Texas Stadium on game day to now having our own, beautiful, individual lockers that you could take a nap in, the memories and laughter that filled our locker room are some of my fondest moments.
I will never forget … having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Hawaii and represent America’s Sweethearts at the Pro Bowl! Talk about being shocked and overwhelmed. While standing in our prayer circle with eyes closed, I knew that Kelli and Judy were about to present a special lady with a lei. I never even dreamed of the possibility of being chosen as a third-year veteran, when I admired so many women who had been on the team much longer than me. When Kelli presented me with this unbelievable honor, my first reaction was complete surprise, happiness and tears. I will NEVER forget standing in between two of my best friends, Jordan Chanley and Kelsi Reich. The love I felt from my teammates voting and choosing me for this honor is indescribable and my trip to Hawaii was the BEST trip of my life.
I will never forget … being the proud Group Leader of the fabulous Group 2 during my fourth and last season! Being a DCC Group Leader takes a lot of commitment and extra time, but I will start by saying that the talented Group 2 made it effortless and perfect. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to cheer beside this season. Having our beautiful Ashton as my second was an answered prayer. Veterans Kaitlin Ilseng and Sasha Agent were the hardest working, yet most laid back and easy-going ladies to work with. And as if it could even get any better, we were incredibly lucky to have Rookies Mackenzie, Alexandra, Jenna and our Aussie Angela.
I will never forget … my final DCC Banquet on April 22, 2012. My most recent accomplishment was being voted by my peers as “Veteran of the Year!” I’m still in disbelief and have to pinch myself that this is real life when I think of it. It was one of the most special nights of my life as Kelli read every single one of the “DCC Promises” and said there were few people that represented all of them. This is by far my most exceptional honor, and I am unbelievably blessed that my teammates chose me. I’m already starting to cry again just thinking about it because it truly means the world to me, and it’s a night that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
To Group 2: Thank you for making my last year PERFECT! There is no other word to describe it. It was an absolute honor to lead you. I could not ask for a sweeter group of girls, and the memories I have with you are forever. Your smiles and fun personalities made me a better person, and you have all touched my life in an extraordinary way.
To My Teammates: I was so blessed to be surrounded by such talented, gorgeous, strong, amazing women. I hold each and every one of you dear to my heart, and whether I cheered with you for one or four years, please know that you have impacted my life and I love you all like sisters. Thank you for being such positive role models, supportive friends, and true examples of a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader!
To Kelli & Judy: Where to start? I am forever grateful that you both saw “something” shine in me at my first audition. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you, former DCC alumni, and this amazing organization. Being a part of this sisterhood has shaped me into the person I am today and I want you both to know that I absolutely adore and love you!
To the DCC Staff: The words “Thank You” just doesn’t seem good enough. I am so appreciative of your hard work, time, and dedication that you give to this organization. It never went unnoticed in my eyes, and I know that everything we did worked out seamlessly and perfectly because of YOU!
To My Family: You have been the most perfect and admirable role models in my life. Thank you for your love and support in everything I’ve ever accomplished. Thank you for raising me in a Christian home with overflowing love and happiness. Thank you for supporting my dream to dance and wear the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform. Thank you for driving from Mississippi and attending almost every single game for four years. But most of all, thank you for pushing me to strive for the best, look at the sunny side of all situations, and know that every good and perfect thing comes from above. Your faith and living testimony of your amazing marriage and relationship with the Lord have touched my life in such a special way. And I pray that I can be that positive, loving role model to my children someday.
To My Hubby, Blake: I cannot believe almost five years of marriage has passed by so quickly. I thank the Lord every single day for putting you in my life. You are my soul mate and best friend, and I couldn’t ask for a better half to spend the rest of my life with. It takes a very strong, confident man to allow your wife to be a DCC! And I just want to say thank you for pushing me to follow my dreams and supporting me through my years as a cheerleader. You will never fully know how appreciative I am for your love and support, and I cannot wait to spend more time with you. Get ready for some home cooked meals and family vacations!
To the DCC Fans: You truly are the BEST fans in the NFL, and we absolutely love your support! Thank you to the fans that waited outside of Texas Stadium my rookie year after the games. I enjoyed meeting you and loved seeing you firsthand. Thank you for writing us Fan Mail. It truly makes us feel special to know that you take time out of your busy day to request an autograph or just say hello. I have met some incredible fans through this process that I now call friends. The DCC love our fans and always will! Thank you for being so great!
So a bittersweet farewell to my days as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. I’ll finally be having my knee surgery when I return from Afghanistan, and I’ll continue teaching dance to little girls with the same passion and love for dance as me. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for my life and am forever grateful for every single moment as one of your America’s Sweethearts!