Monday night football on Sept. 26 against the Washington Redskins was absolutely amazing! I had so much fun preparing for, and performing at this specific game. Here is a breakdown of what the DCC did before and after the Cowboys win!
First, on Sunday, eight of the DCC, including myself, filmed a promotional video for ESPN and Monday Night Football. It was a lot of fun! They had us in a tunnel that looked like a regular plain-jane backdrop, but they simply put a big spotlight in the center of it, facing the camera, which transformed the tunnel into a really cool scene. We did our signature move “sexy hips,” performed pieces from some of our routines, and even made what we call “player intro lines” for some of our best players to run through. It was a really exciting experience to work with such a talented crew, and just to have the opportunity was special to me.
After the shoot, we went to our stations and had a Rally Day appearance in various places all over the stadium. I was stationed with Mia in the DCC locker room. Anyone could purchase a tour ticket, then meet us along the way. We were signing squad photos and posing for pictures with fans. We even met an entire clan of five-year-olds who were attending a birthday party! They were so excited to get signed photos, and it was fun for Mia and I to use the skills we learned while teaching Camp DCC to kind of keep things in order as much as possible.
Once our appearance was over in the early evening, those of us who had been at the stadium already (for about five hours,), rushed to grab a bite to eat because we had to get ready for rehearsal. The rest of the squad joined us and we then practiced our pregame performance and our four quarter-change dances on the field. Everyone who was at the stadium for Rally Day was able to observe our rehearsal, so we had a little more energy and inspiration than a normal practice.
On Monday, we all met at Valley Ranch around 2 p.m. and loaded the bus for the departure to Cowboys Stadium. We arrived there, and like every game, the bus dropped us off in front of our locker room to unload and unpack our suitcases of game-day necessities. We have a rule that when you get off the bus, you grab the first pink suitcase that you can while they are unloading them so as not to cause tons of traffic looking for your own. Then we take the suitcase to its owner’s locker.
We usually have about 10 minutes to quickly unpack, hang up our uniforms and organize our stuff to get ready after we rehearse. Once our time is up, we grab our poms and head out to the field for one last rehearsal before they open the stadium doors to the public.
For this particular game, we got lucky and only had to practice our pregame routine, player intro line, national anthem line, and end zone platform routines. Usually, we will also do all four quarter-change routines, which are about two minutes long, but since we had just done them the day before, we were able to skip that step!
After rehearsal, we went back into our locker room to freshen up and get ready. A lot of girls take blow dryers and turn them on the cold setting to cool off after practice.
Once we cooled down, Melissa and I were told that we needed to find a clever way to surprise Whitney, because she was the Game-Day Girl! Being Game-Day Girl is a huge honor, and you get recognized after the third quarter during our quarter-change, and you also get your picture in the official game program. Usually we find a way to show the lucky girl by placing the game program in a place that they will see it and be surprised.
Melissa and I knew that Whitney had been saying she was starving, so we used that to our advantage. When they brought our dinner and serving trays, we asked for an extra serving tray to put the game program in, so when Whitney opened it, she would be surprised to see herself as the Game-Day Girl! We told the rest of the girls to let Whitney go first through the buffet line, so our plan worked out perfectly.
Next we ate dinner, and then met in four circles with our groups. One girl from each group is assigned to bring a gift for every home game, which is a fun way to celebrate. We exchanged gifts, then the leaders talked to our groups on what to improve on for the game or what needed to remembered.
Then we finally start getting ready for the game. We have lights and plugs in our own lockers, so we sit in there and do our hair and make-up. For Monday, we had about an hour to get ready once we finished with all of our game-day rituals and rehearsal. After the hour, we met in a circle around 7 p.m. for a last minute pep talk from Kelli. Then we have our own little squad pep talk and say a prayer before we head out. I remember everything from my first home, regular-season opener and Monday night game in 2008, and it was all so amazing to take in. I specifically told the rookies to remember every moment because I knew that it would be their most memorable game ever, no matter how long they decide to cheer. There is nothing like the sound of the crowd at that first regular season game, especially on a Monday night!
We then headed out for pregame, which was so much fun with the big crowd making a ton of noise. It was definitely an added bonus that the Cowboys beat the Redskins with such a long list of injuries, but the massive amount of screaming fans made the game extra memorable.
I know that each of the 17 rookies was impressed with how much our hard work really did pay off, and how much being on the sidelines exceeds anyone’s expectations. We all love every moment of game day and the preparations for it, because the experience of being on the field with America’s Team is a feeling that you cannot find anywhere else!