In a celebration of Father’s Day this month, we bring you a series where we asked a few of our Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as their dads, about their journey to becoming one of America’s Sweethearts.
This is the month when we’ll take the time to honor the old man, pops, papa, father, ATM machine or, of course, daddy. Wanting to show a little love to those dedicated few who sat through countless hours of dance rehearsals and cheer competitions, we posed questions to several of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the men who helped raise them. Today, meet Sydney and Mark.
What do you remember about your relationship growing up as a dancer?
Sydney: My dad went to every performance I was in, and supported me in everything since I was three years old. He was always there with a smile, a big hug, and flowers. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for his love, support and encouragement!
Mark: Ever since Sydney learned how to walk, she never walked, she always ran everywhere and danced. We enrolled her in dance classes when she was three years old, and she was always happy when she danced. She danced everywhere and at all times of the day. As she grew up, she focused more and more on classical ballet. She performed in Rio Grande Valley Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” for five years, and she was the first non-professional dancer in the RGV to take on the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She also was the Snow Queen and Clara. I supported her in every performance.
What was the conversation like when you talked about trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?
Sydney: I remember saying, “Hey dad, I’m going to move to Dallas!” in a somewhat humorous tone because I never thought I would actually make the team out of so many girls and move away from home. He told me to go for it. Performing has always been a passion of mine, and I have always loved giving back to others. My dad use to be “Santa” at children’s hospitals around the Rio Grande Valley, and I was his “elf.” I passed out toys and gifts to the kids that didn’t get to spend Christmas at home or couldn’t afford books, toys, and other things. As I grew up, I was Miss Rio Grande Valley Teen USA 2007, and I gave back to my community in every way possible. When I told him that I was going to audition for the DCC, he knew that it was the right choice for me because I would be able to continue my passions all while representing the best football team and organization in the world.
Mark: Sydney graduated high school early, and was in college by age 17 when she told me she wanted to branch out of ballet and expand her dancing career. She went to a dance competition in Denton, Texas, and when she came back she told me that she had been asked to audition for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. I knew as soon as she told me that it was the right path for her. I knew she would be able to continue her passion for dance and love for giving back to others as a DCC.
Have you been surprised with what goes into being a DCC, from the tryouts to the games to the appearances?
Mark: As her dad, I have always been supportive and known that she was going to do great things and that she would be busy. When I get a phone call from her saying she is headed to Kuwait and Bahrain or South Korea for over 10 days during Christmas-time and New Years, part of me wishes she was here for the holidays, and the other part is so proud of the things she is doing for our community and U.S. military. I served in the U.S. Air Force, and I know how much it means to the men and women who serve our country. I love talking to Sydney and seeing how much it all means to her, and hearing all of her stories. There is a lot more to being a DCC than just auditions and performing. I couldn’t be more proud of the things she does and the things that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders do.
How does dad handle seeing you perform, not to mention posing in calendars, with millions watching you?
Sydney: I don’t think my dad gets nervous watching me perform in front of millions of eyes. He loves it because he knows I am enjoying it!
Mark: I don’t get nervous watching her perform or seeing her in calendars. When she is happy and fulfilling her dreams, I am happy.
What has your dad’s love and support meant to you?
Sydney: My dad loves me and supports me like no other. He always has the best advice. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I still remember auditioning for the DCC back in 2008. Being away from my friends and family back home, which is nine hours away from Dallas, is not easy when you are 18 years old, but having my dad’s love and support helped me achieve my dream, and I am thankful to be representing this amazing organization as a six-year veteran this season!