In part two of her Pro Bowl diary, Sea Gal Melanie takes you through some of the evening events and discusses the long practice sessions.
Day 3 - Wednesday, February 6th
Pancakes, eggs, or waffles today? T-shirts, bags, or sweats on our chairs this morning? They sure do make it easy for us to get out of bed in the morning!
But what I loved about every morning was that we each got a chance to talk and learn about each other. We started this the night before, at the end of practice. We would take turns standing in front of the team and staff and Ron would have us tell each other about ourselves. He would open each of us up and ask us questions about our lives so we could truly get an understanding of how amazing each woman was.
I learned quickly that these women that stand before me were nothing close to ordinary, but had stability, emotions, and lives other than cheerleading. But what was extraordinary about it all, was that we were all sitting in the same room because we possessed a leadership quality in our lives and have a passion for dancing in the organization we were with. Talk about starting the morning off on a good note!
After breakfast we were off to another rehearsal, this time to learn our halftime routine. Ever heard of the band Lifehouse? Because I think my heart may have skipped a beat when I found out we'd be performing with them at halftime.
The song was called "First Time." We took pieces of routines we already knew and put them together to make our halftime routine. It ended up turning out great! It was such a powerful song to dance to.
We got a little break to grab some lunch until our next activity of the day which were hospital visits scheduled for squads NFC1 and AFC1. The other two squads had a few free hours until the Pro Bowl welcome party that was being held later that night.
One of the most rewarding experiences of being an NFL Cheerleader are the smiles you get to see on other peoples' faces when you walk into a room just to say hello. I got to visit the Honolulu Shriners Hospital for children with my squad, NFC1. The very first room we walked into, a little boy named RJ had made us little Valentine's Day cards. He was so shy to give us his cards, it was adorable!
To know that we can put a smile on a child's face and help them take their minds off of their pain and suffering for one second in life is such a rewarding feeling. I can't explain how touching it was to give each child a hug, to sign a poster for them, and to watch their faces light up as we entered the room. Yet again, it was another memory I will have forever.
After the hospital visit, we quickly jumped into our vans and rushed back to our hotel rooms with about 30 minutes to change for the evening event. Like everyday, we had our lovely security men shuttling us from one appearance/performance to another. How they kept up with us I will never know, but they did a fantastic job.
After changing into our evening attire, it was time to attend the NFL Pro Bowl Welcome Party Luau! Now, it's a little hard to keep a low profile when 26 beautiful women enter a place together with security guards in front, side, and behind them. So, we pretty much blew our cover as to who we were when we got to the Luau.
Although we were technically 'off duty' at the time, there was always time to take pictures with our fans! There was great food, entertainment, and anyone and everyone who was involved with the Pro Bowl was there. It was a great event!
Day 4 - Thursday, February 7th
Now by this day, I'm beginning to think to myself just exactly how long I've been here and what day it is. Then I thought who cares? I'm given an itinerary each day of where I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to wear, and what I'm supposed to do! Exhausting? Yes. Worth it? More than anyone knows!
Today was going to be exciting. It was our first stadium rehearsal! We all dressed in our new Pro Bowl shorts and t-shirts that were given to us the day before and headed to the vans after breakfast (and after our daily inspirational speech of course).
As we arrived, it was straight to the field to practice sideline routines, our pre-game routine, and the halftime routine. Which, we had to practice part of the halftime routine on our very own stage.
The stadium was awesome. Definitely nothing like Qwest Field, but had a great Hawaiian feel to it. And anyone who has been in a football stadium knows that it is at least 10 degrees warmer down on the field. I'm guessing today it was about 85 to 90 degrees out, no clouds in sight. So you can imagine how hot it was for us. I will have to be honest and say that not one of us looked as if we hadn't just taken a shower after practice!
It was interesting to see how each of us interacted with one another on a mutual field. We all had something to say about being in line with one another and had a few different opinions on how to do a couple of different moves. But what can you expect when you put 26 dominant females together and tell them to become a team? It was a fun experience though and was going to look great!
After practice was over, it was NFC1's squad that had a break until our team dinner tonight! Finally! A few hours to breathe! Well, that's what I first thought until I actually missed being rushed from point A to point B.
We then decided it was our turn to get our Pro Bowl rings. Now, let me quickly explain this tradition that was started, I believe, a few years back. A small jewelry store in Waikiki had agreed to make the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders' rings that only we could have. We can choose a certain design and have them engraved however we'd like.
On the outside everyone's ring says, "Pro Bowl Cheerleader," and inside I had engraved, "Melanie Seahawks 2008." Go figure, I know. We do have to purchase them, but what a great thing to have to remember this experience.
That only took a small amount of time, then it was off to catch some rays! Well, that's what I thought I was going to do until it started raining. At least I was able to spend some time with a few of the girls until it was time to get ready for our team dinner at Dave and Buster's.
At Dave and Buster's, we had a private room, which was great because we were able to get closer as a team. This time we got to learn a bit about our directors of e2k sports.
We were able to ask them questions, like they had been doing to us. One girl asked the entire staff if they could remember one Pro Bowl Cheerleader in the past that has made a big impression on them and stood out in their minds. You know who Ron said? Well, he mentioned it was our very own veteran Sea Gal, Trina! He said that her story of her family, where she came from, and her overall personality stuck out in his mind. I wanted to share that because I never had the honor of dancing with Trina, but luckily she had came this past year to choreograph a couple routines for us, and just based off of that I'd definitely agree with him. Way to go Trina!
Day 5 and on...coming soon!