The 2010-2011 season was my rookie year as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. I knew that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders was a team of which I had always wanted to be a part; however, little did I know it would change my life. Read Part 1 & Part 2 of Sasha’s story.
It was January of 2010, and I was successfully making it through my first year in Dallas. I was beginning to get the hang of teaching, and I was also getting used to the idea being away from my family in California. The only missing piece to the puzzle was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
I began to work on the necessary elements needed to becoming a DCC. This meant increasing my flexibly, working on my kicks, and even practicing my showmanship. Many people thought that since I danced professionally before, this process would be easy for me. But it had been five years since I had performed, and who was to say that I was even the same performer? I took nothing for granted and prepared myself as if I were brand new to the world of professional cheerleading.
Before I knew it, I was standing before Kelli and Judy at the 2010-2011 DCC auditions. After almost two years of waiting, I was finally getting a chance to make my dream come true. Preliminaries … Semi-Finals … and Finals quickly passed. And after a quick, yet intense training camp, we were taking the 2010-2011 squad photo. It was all happening so fast.
Right around the time of the first preseason game, teachers were required to report back to school. I was beginning my second year as a teacher, which was great because I no longer had to put in as many hours. This made it easier to get through my rookie year.
Even though training camp was over, we were still learning new choreography. There were moments when I truly thought my brain could not hold any more information. If I had any moment or time to spare, I spent that time practicing. I would practice on my lunch break in my classroom. And on rehearsal days, I would even get to the studio early to practice the routines on my own. When I would get home from rehearsals, I marked my every yard line for every pregame and halftime performance on a paper-sized football field. Juggling being a mom, teacher and DCC was difficult, yet I quickly adapted and found time to do everything that I needed to accomplish.
December 19 was the last Cowboys home game. I remember standing on the sidelines thinking, “This can’t possibly be my last year.” It all flashed by so fast, and there was no way I made this huge move to Dallas for it to all be over so quickly. This was when I made my decision to re-audition for another season.
It was our end of the year banquet in Spring of 2011, and my teammates voted me as their Rookie of the Year. It was a pretty amazing moment full of many overwhelming emotions. I was happy, speechless, honored, surprised and nervous. Kelli brought it to my attention that I had to give a speech – something for which I was not prepared. I remember laughing, crying and thinking just how amazing this moment was. In a flash, I reflected on all the late nights of practicing, the times where I thought I could not make it through a day of work, or the times I spent holding my daughter at night because I was not able to tuck her in.
It was such an honor being named Rookie of the Year, and at that very moment I felt complete. I had finally found the last piece to my incomplete puzzle. Not only had I accomplished my dream of dancing with the best professional cheerleading team in the world, but I had managed to finish the year off by receiving the top honor a rookie could achieve. This honor was especially significant to me because of the extra hurdles I had to jump over to come out on top.
I keep my Rookie of the Year football in a shadowbox, and every time I look at it, I remember the long and difficult journey to finding that missing piece of the puzzle … my journey to becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.