As someone from Everett, Massachusetts, a town not far from Boston, being a Patriots' cheerleader has always been a dream. I've tried out for the squad five times, and although I haven't made it, yet, I'm trying again. My quest for a spot on the squad started back in college in 2010. I attended Dean College in Franklin, MA, where I was a young, confused dance major who fully embraced the freshman 15. Franklin is about a 15-minute drive to the Patriot's home at Gillette Stadium, so pretty much every dance major was planning on auditioning.
I showed up to the tryouts out of shape, wearing no makeup and no idea of what to expect. Tryouts took place at the Empowerment Field, where it was filled to the maximum with more than 400 hopefuls, all competing for 22 coveted dance spots on the team, and I was one of them.
Fast-forward to 2018—five auditions, three trips to "finals" and one exciting journey to the squad's "bootcamp" later—and I am trying out to be a New England Patriots Cheerleader again (for the sixth time). But this time, I'm documenting my crazy ride. With the actual Super Bowl rapidly approaching, and the auditions on March 3, I've shifted into high gear with my audition prep. I have learned a lot over the years when it comes to the "do's" and "don'ts" of the process. Follow my journey the week before the Super Bowl, as I strive yet again to be a part of the The New England Patriots Cheerleading Squad.
Week of 1/27/18
Saturday, 9 am
I am start every morning with a 15-minute stretch. It may not seem like a lot, but it really helps with my flexibility because that, without a doubt, is something you need on this team. For breakfast I had a high-protein thinkThin smoothie. It includes dried blueberries and bananas, chia seeds and ground flaxseed mixed with a protein blend of whey, almond and sunflower seeds. It gives me a great boost to start the day.
Lunchtime! Today for lunch I kept it pretty simple. Just had some turkey on "Deli Select" wheat bread. Then I had multigrain crackers and guacamole dip. Probably not the most amazing lunch, but hey, we can't all be perfect.
This afternoon I did some workouts through an online accountability Facebook group I am part of. It is led by one of the current cheerleaders, which is pretty awesome! She posts things like motivational quotes, recipes and of course workouts. Each workout targets a different area such as abs, glutes or arms, and gives lots of cardio!
Tonight I went out with a couple of my college friends to a local bar. Going out "for drinks" while in prep mode is not the easiest thing in the world. I usually just have water instead of actual drinks. I don't need to have a drink to make my nights out fun, but it can be really tough sometimes. It is really important for me to maintain my social life, though, (and sanity) during this time, so I make it a point to still go out and have fun, even if I can't have a cocktail when doing it.
Sunday, 9 am
Started my day again with a 15-minute morning stretch and my protein shake along with a banana. I needed to make sure I was fueled up for the day, because I was teaching a contemporary class for a room full of dance educators at Dance Teacher's Club of Boston later that afternoon.
Time for class! I was so honored to teach at the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston meeting for a second time. To teach in a room full of other dance educators is always an amazing experience. Being at the front of the room teaching helps me work on the way I can command a room, which is something I need to do when both dancing and public speaking. (If you get to the final round of the tryouts, an in-person interview with the head coach of the cheerleading team is a part of the process). Being able to speak clearly and in an educated manner is so important as a cheerleader.
After my class, I went out with a couple of other dance teachers for a late lunch. Usually there are some healthy options at restaurants (or at least they sound healthy). I had a steak and avocado salad. Did I want a burger? Yes, of course I did, but, what I ordered was pretty good and filling.
After a long day of teaching, I try to refocus myself by meditating. I use two different apps depending on how I am feeling, "Calm" and "Relax Melodies." It is pretty hard for a dancer to sit still for 10 minutes, but I am working on it!
Sunday nights are always tough. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead. But meal prepping and packing your bag(s) (let's be real: I never am carrying just one bag at a time) can help make Monday mornings just a little bit easier.
Monday 9 am
This morning I continued with my stretching. I was tired, but I did it and felt pretty good!
Today was the official send-off for the Patriots players as they head to Minnesota. Of course, I was all over Instagram this afternoon, instead of actually being productive at work. I was checking the cheerleaders' accounts, as well as the Patriots' and Gillette Stadium's account, because following a field on Instagram is normal, right?
On Mondays I teach jazz dance for two and a half hours. Teaching helps me prepare for auditions, because it allows me to keep moving and stay active on nights that I am not necessarily "working out." And the memorization skills I have gained from dance over the years absolutely helps me when having to remember multiple routines back-to-back during tryouts.
There is nothing I dread more than grocery shopping. I would rather go to the dentist than go grocery shopping. Pushing that cart and spending money on food that will probably go bad in five days is dreadful to me. Healthier food (which is necessary) is a lot more expensive, too. So how do I get through this grueling experience? By constantly reminding myself that I am making these sacrifices for a goal. A goal that is greater than anything I can ever imagine. A goal that could change my life.
Tuesday 9 am
Began my morning "creeping" through every Instagram account connected to the Patriots, the cheerleaders and any sports channel that was streaming live videos. This is how I will be getting my morning news for the week.
Curly or straight?! Yet again, instead of doing actual work, I was going and back and forth between if I should curl or straighten my hair for the tryouts. #Firstworldproblems
Tuesdays and Thursdays I teach at Dean College. I am a jazz dance adjunct professor within the School of Dance. Dean is actually where the preliminary tryouts will be taking place, so it is nice to be able to get used to the space where I will be performing in front of the judges in a few weeks!
Tonight for dinner I ate really healthy. I made steak, brussel sprouts and brown rice. Go me!
Wednesday 10 am
Today at work we are having a "Pre-Super Bowl Party" filled with donuts, chips, cookies, soda and lots of other game-day snacks. There are lots of temptations to want to join in on the fun, but I know that I need to stay focused and resist any of that junk food.
Since I don't have to teach tonight, I get to make a healthy dinner again instead of having something on the go/in my car. It's the little things...
After a very busy few days, it is time for a rest day. I do not have to teach and will not be working out. It is SOOO important to allow your body to rest and repair itself. I am going to stretch a little, though, and allow my muscles to really lengthen out and maybe use my roller to roll out any tight spots.
I spent way too much time tonight searching online for the perfect shade of blonde that I want for my hair for the auditions. The past three years it was a really bright blonde and was cut in a tight bob. It may seem silly to be so concerned with obtaining that perfect shade of blonde, but something like this can be the difference between you making the team or not.
Thursday 9 am
This morning the Patriot cheerleaders headed to Minnesota. Looking at all of their posts as they begin their Super Bowl journey gave me this insane burst of excitement, nerves and motivation. I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach, even though I'm not even on the squad. Maybe it's the idea that one day that could be me?!
As I make my drive over to Dean, I am constantly choreographing in my car, which is totally safe. I am thinking of potential routines and freestyle moves that I can put into my solo during the first round of tryouts.
Tonight I am at Dean College again. Working with students of this age and caliber really pushes me as a dancer and educator. It continues to help with my memorization skills along with building my stamina and flexibility when demonstrating things for my students.
I made it through the week...barely. As I prep for the Super Bowl on Sunday, I continue to remind myself why I am making all of these sacrifices. To be able to perform on the biggest stage of my life in front of thousands of fans! That is the motivation that continues to keep me going. #NOTDONE #GOPATS
I will be sure to check in with you all again soon as the journey continues on my quest to become a New England Patriots Cheerleader.
Stay tuned for Taylor's experience at the audition in March!