Director's Chair

What I Learned From Emmitt


We had a REAL surprise visit from Emmitt Smith at Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders rehearsal this week.  You will see it on CMT, Making the Team 7 tonight at 8 p.m. CST.

With the DCC having a “normal” field rehearsal at Cowboys Stadium, Judy and I were standing on the 50-yard line addressing the cheerleaders when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and was met with a glowing smile from none other than Emmitt Smith. I squealed with surprise and immediately called the girls to come to the star and say hello to “OUR” all-time rushing champion, Super Bowl MVP, and Dancing with the Stars champion. The girls gathered around Emmitt like he was Santa Claus, and just waited for him to say something.

I explained to Emmitt that we were practicing for our pregame performance, had a few games under our belt, and needed to refuel at this point since this is the time of season when complacency tries to knock on our lockeroom door. I asked Emmitt how he motivated himself every year, every quarter, even every down. His answer was simple yet profound.

“Kelli, in the NFL, you risk injury every single play,” Emmitt said, “and that reality motivated me to play ever down is if it could be my last play in the NFL. I played every play as if I was not promised another play.”

He then turned to the Cheerleaders and said, “You need to live your life today, as if tomorrow is not promised.”

I have always held Emmitt in high esteem, and am on the record for saying my favorite Cowboys player in my 28 years with the team is Emmitt Smith. I’ve had the good fortune of being in the presence with many sports heroes, but I must say, Emmitt is a true gentleman, leader and inspiration … and a heck of a dancer!

Emmitt had no idea when he was speaking to the cheerleaders how his one-sentence message would become a mantra for me.

I‘ve had a turbulent summer this year, and leaned on many quotes for strength and inspiration, but “Brother Emmitt” has now given me my morning coffee: “Thank you God for this day. I’m going to try to live today, knowing tomorrow is not promised to me.”


More Director's Chair

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  • Director's Chair: Director’s Mailbag – 10/26 - October 2012
  • Comments

    1. Kelli, I feel like I know you because I watch my recorded episodes of “Making the Team” nearly every day. I just read your comment about your having a turbulent summer. I’m sorry about that. I noticed you weren’t wearing your wedding ring(s) during several episodes. And then I saw you were wearing them on the swimsuit episode. I noticed how you kept on “keepin on” and you were the best professional leader of your organization. I will be thinking of you and hope you are not having more turbulent times, whatever the circumstances. I have had some hard times and your show always picks me up. I am hoping that your knowing you are helping people you don’t even know will make you feel better! Good luck and keep up the great work. Melinda

      • Kelli Finglass says:

        Thank you Melinda for your kind note; I am a believer in group therapy among women! I really appreciate your support. Your note, did, in fact, make me feel better…even though I just read it 45 days later! Let’s have a good 2013! Kelli

    2. Hey Kelli, reading this article will help me keep working hard to fulfill my dreams in become a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Yes, I know that about 500 or more girls audition to become a DCC and only about 40 girls actually make it and I WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE GIRLS!!! When ever Making The Team episodes come on I sit in front of my tv and take notes. Learning what will help me become the best Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders I can be. As I’m sitting there I think about how hard these girls have worked to be dancing their heart every home game. I respect each and ever coach,cheerleader,football player, and all million and one fans. Thanks For Reading This :) and I Hope To See/Be Apart Of The DCC!! -A 14 year old from Georgia , Tre Rogers,.

    3. The swimsuit calendar shoot was filmed before training camp and auditions even started. The swimsuit calendar shoot I think was at the end of April or early May. It just aired out of order to make it seem like there was more content. The 5 Veterans who were cut while re-auditioning, were on that swimsuit shoot. I saw glimpses of them but it did seem obvious that whoever did the editing for the show was careful to not let too many shots of those girls make it on camera. Even though the swimsuit stuff all happened already, when they were filming at SMU Kelli had to say to the camera “I just bought 20 round trip tickets” to make it flow based on the order in which things aired. So that was one part that could be considered “staged”. But if you notice when they were practicing for their “fashion show” during the swimsuit episode, Kelli says to the camera then “We have 25 girls here blah blah blah”. Because those cut Veterans were still there. I love Kelli, I love the show, and I love that we have more episodes and content this season. I just wish the flow and the editing matched up a little better.

      • Kelli Finglass says:

        Heather, due to the nature of our schedule, travel schedules, and the TV show tapings, some scenes were taped out of sequence. That being said, everything is real….just out of sequence. Hope you enjoyed the inclusion of our swim calendar shoot!

    4. Ricca, what is Meh? And being a former DCC is a great accomplishment! So what’s up with the disrespect for Kelli? I don’t get it! Are you jealous? She runs a great program, unparalleled. She has a HUGE responsibility and in my opinion, she more than just meets it. I’m amazed at all we see on tv that she does and I know we don’t see a ton of what she does. We all can’t agree and I’m just curious about your position on Kelli. Thanks.
      Melinda

    5. While I appreciate Emmitt’s appearance, what I didn’t appreciate was while he was speaking to the girls, he had in his hand what looked to be an adult beverage. Really Emmitt?

      • Kelli Finglass says:

        Emmitt is a pro, and I stand behind him and what I said in my article. He happened upon the DCC rehearsal as he was at a stadium engagement of his own. He walked out to the field from a party to say “hi” to the DCC. He was being generous with his time, and inspirational with his words. The glass in his hand was simply that…a glass in his hand from the party he was attending when he spontaneously walked out to the DCC rehearsal. I wouldn’t change the moment.

    6. Favorite Quote: “I follow the show” -Emmitt Smith!

    7. Angelique Colon says:

      Hi! I recently started watching your show this past month. I have a question for Kelli but I am not sure where I can ask it:

      I can’t believe how much I miss dancing and crave to try out. I danced for 8 years straight taking jazz, ballet, hip-hop, acro, and tap and was asked multiple times to join our studios competitive team but my parents never supported it. When I got to highschool, I dropped dancing and turned to sports (especially since our H.S did not have a dance team).
      Ever since I have been watching this show, I have never had such a desire to become a DCC. My only fear is that I since I have not formally “danced” in almost 7 years( I am 21 years old), would it be a far fetched dream to get back into it and try out? Have you had rookies who don’t have 15+ years of experience?

      Thanks!

      • I’m just a former dance instructor and I think u should take some technique classes. Your former training will help u as u go along. And before u know it, you’ll be dancing like u never took a break. Go for it while u r still young! Start now and stretch! Good luck.

        Melinda

      • Kelli Finglass says:

        Angelique: sounds like you have a good base in dance training. I’d recommend you keep up with technique classes: Jazz, hip hop, and ballet. We have had ladies make our squad with varying levels of dance background, from beginners with a great aptitude to learn and entertain to extensive dance training. Keep your training consistent, regular and fresh, and come see us in May!

    8. I am not wallowing in bewilderment. It would take a real problem for that. No you don’t owe me a thing. I was taking up for Kelli for MY benefit, not hers. And I do know there are other former DCC who work hard and have huge responsibilities. And I really was just curious. I like to hear other points of view on most all issues. I don’t consider this “discussion” w u a conflict. I am a licensed professional counselor and asking if u r jealous is valid and appropriate b c it deals w a possibility. There’s no reason to condescend. I will be the first to admit I don’t know everything, even w a Master’s plus 23. Could u please explain what a motivational speech from 199 means? I’m not going to “stifle” when I’m curious. Please explain your paradigms on Kelli and Emmitt. Please believe me that I am just curious. Even though I may not share your opinion, I respect yours b c u r a human being. Differences make the world go around.

      • Ricca, I googled “meh” and it referred to the Urban Dictionary. Do u think it’s a word used in certain cultures? Again, just curious. I try to learn new terms, even though they may not be new to those using it.

      • The post above is an answer to a post from Ricca that is no longer shown.

        • Hi Melinda! I’m a little confused…the last post I wrote was on another blog on this site…not sure what you’re responding to, just saw my screen named tagged and read…weird! What the heck!? :-)

          • I’m confused, too. My comment started w “I’m not wallowing in bewilderment”…I should have addressed your name, which is a great name, btw.

    9. Ricca, I was commenting on the post where you were commenting on Emmitt Smith. Can u see it above? I asked u about the meaning of meh, etc. Does this help?

    10. Mr Smith has always been the leader of everything. He was team captain, Team motivator, Team’s inspirations. He carried his own weight and each time our front line men open holes for him. He gave them thanks. He wasn’t selfish when He was out there in the Field he work with the team and made us all feel like a Champion.

      It was magical seeing him run through the other teams. It was hard to catch him once he gain his full speed. He would leap over men without the fear of hurting himself. He did his JOB well and earned every cents he made while playing for the COWBOYS.

      Right now I am very disappointed with TONY ROMO because its the same story every year. He is out there breaking records and in the most important games ever he is looking lost and confused. He CHOKES and makes us all feel miserable that our COWBOYS are not in the SUPER BOWL to become CHAMPIONS !

      I still have the 45 record of the DCC singing ” WE ARE THE COWBOYS ” I use to play it at home every time the COWBOYS SCORED A TOUCH DOWN!

      I love each and everyone of you girls. Even though I don’t know you personally. but those whom I have met and those whom I have seen on TV or calendars.. You are deeply found in my heart.

      Thank you for being Beautiful.
      Thank you for being a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders American Sweet hearts team.

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