Sea Gal Melanie takes you through her final day of her Pro Bowl experience.
Day 7- Sunday, February 10th
Finally, it's game day!!! To think* *that I thought this day would never come, yet it snuck up on me so fast I could hardly believe it. It was time to shower, primp, and prepare for one of the most memorable experiences that I will carry with me forever.
Every time I put on my uniform I couldn't stop thinking about how lucky I was to be here and how I wanted to represent my directors, team members, and organization in the best way I knew how. I was given this amazing opportunity and I felt as if I had to pinch myself each day to remind myself that this was real.
It was such a bittersweet feeling today knowing that this was the last time I would perform as a team with these amazing and talented women, yet I was going to return home in a couple of days to the team that got me where I am today.
Excited to be on our way to the stadium, yet halfway still asleep, our entire line of vans suddenly pulled to the side of the road just off a freeway exit. I wondered what was going on until I saw 5 policemen on motorcycles waiting to escort us to the stadium! What a way to make an entrance!
We were then taken straight to our dressing rooms where we had a few minutes to touch-up before the Official Pro Bowl Tailgate Party. With our security never leaving our side, we walked through the crowd into the biggest tailgate party I've ever seen! You had to even have tickets to get inside, so it was very exclusive.
For about 20 minutes we were able to walk around, sign autographs, and take pictures with our fans before heading over to the performance stage. It was the entire group of AFC Cheerleaders' turn to be introduced first to the crowd and perform two of our game day routines. Next, it was NFC's turn to be introduced and perform. What a great group of fans! We all had a blast out there.
Heading back to the dressing room, we had about an hour to relax and get ready before we had to be out on the field for pre-game. It was definitely hot out there, but we were well taken care of!
As the announcer said, "Football fans! Please welcome your 2008 Pro Bowl Cheerleaders!" The fans cheered and we ran onto the field to take our pre-game positions. During the routine each cheerleader was announced by name and team while we had an 8-count of music to dance to our own choreography front and center. It was short and sweet, but yet another moment to really take it all in.
When Kelly Rowland sung the national anthem she had us all just about in tears! It was amazing to see her sing in person and all the special effects that went along with it. Now, as you may know, the Sea Gals are at every home game, on the field, and we get to experience everything that goes along with being on the sidelines. So, what made this game out of the ordinary? (Well, besides the fact that it was the Pro Bowl game). What made it so different was that we were all able to go up to the fans, take pictures with them, and sign autographs! It was really funny though because we were all very hesitant at first to do this knowing that it is not something we are able to do at our regular season games. But we had a lot of fun with it and the fans seemed to love it!
I mentioned earlier that we had the opportunity to dance with the band, Lifehouse, at halftime. So when I realized that we were already being called to our positions to get ready, I didn't think my smile could have gotten any bigger, but it did!
It was everything I thought it was going to be, and more! I can't say that I've ever been a part of a live halftime show like that before, fireworks and everything. There were fireworks coming out right on the stage that we were dancing on! And knowing that, we had to be pretty careful getting down as we ran to the locker rooms to take a quick break.
That's how it was the whole trip; running from point A to point B, literally. And this time I just about ran right into Lifehouse as they were heading back to their locker room right next to us. Oh, but I didn't mind, we all managed to get a great picture together. This day just kept getting better and better!
Whew, so are you still with me? It was back to the game we went, and by our separate NFC and AFC squads 1 and 2, we were taken up to the side stages located around the stadium. Having a different view of the field on stage, dancing above the crowd was such an awesome feeling. It was all about having fun, interacting with the fans, and cheering on our all-star NFL players. We were up there for quite awhile and were able to do a couple dances, then it was back to our field positions we went.
When Laura, from the Minnesota Vikings, pointed out that it was already the two-minute warning (I was still on cloud 9 from this whole experience), I just couldn't believe it! I could've stayed on that field for hours more feeding off of the energy from the fans! At least the NFC was winning, so I let it slide. What a great game that was!
Heading back to the locker room, smiling faces turned into joyful tears, as we all realized it was all over. For most of the girls, it was really over. They were moving on from their professional cheerleading careers and this was their last game forever.
When we got inside the room, Ron and Maria told us to get in a big circle and sit down. One by one, Ron asked us our thoughts and feelings about everything that had just flown by this whole week.
Let me just tell those who don't know me too well, I don't get emotional all that often. As Stacey from the New England Patriots puts it, "Crying is for sissies!" Right Stacey? When it came my turn to speak I just couldn't hold back. I know I've said it before, but I explained to everyone that being a rookie on the Sea Gals this year, I still couldn't believe I was chosen to be here.
I was given the honor and privilege by my directors of representing a group of women who all deserved to be here too. I had met the most amazing people in one week that I will never forget. But all good things must come to an end, right?
With that in mind, I will make sure I take back a piece of every woman here. Every single one had an amazing story, personality, and a passion for what they did. They were all here for a reason whether their directors or teammates chose them, and it showed.
I heard this quote once: "Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again." That is exactly what I did.
This was a once in a lifetime chance and it was because believing in myself let others believe in me. What I will take back from my experiences at the Pro Bowl will be with me forever. This was a true blessing.
I want to thank my director Sherri Thompson, and assistant director and choreographer, Robin Houlbjerg and Shannon Kingsley for giving me this amazing experience. Being a part of the 2007-2008 Sea Gals has changed my life and I'm honored to hold the title for the 2008 Sea Gals Pro Bowl Cheerleader.
Thank you to Maria, Ron, Diane, and John of e2k sports and our security team for providing the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders with a new family and memories we will hold in our hearts forever and for making this experience possible.
"One passion, one love, one heart"