It is that time of year where NFL hopeful cheerleaders all over the United States put on their A-Game to head out to tryouts! There are 26 teams in the NFL that have a cheerleading squad associated with their team and they all hold tryouts around the months of April and May. The question these contenders have to ask themselves is; do they have what it takes to claim one of those desirable spots on the team?
The Houston Texans Cheerleading Program puts on ‘The Biggest Party of the Year’ for their tryouts. Coach Alto holds the tryout in the evening to give the tryouts more of a fun and relaxed feeling. She wants the ladies and gentlemen who come out to feel like they are in a nightclub, just dancing and having a good time with their friends; that way the candidates will do their best without letting their nerves take over. The Texans Cheerleader tryout always has a huge turnout of contestants, this year topping the list at 1,100 individuals!
The night starts when you walk through The Methodist Training Center tunnel, full of smoke and red lights; you feel like one of the football players coming out of the game day tunnel. The thrill of just walking into the party makes you feel welcome and happy that you didn’t let your nerves get the best of you. As soon as you step out of the smoke and lights you are welcomed with Texans Staff, local News stations video cameras, and camera flashes everywhere. While you are walking to put your bags down and pin your tryout number on to your outfit, you see videos of past Houston Texans Cheerleaders dancing on big screens all over the Training Center, ‘The Bubble’.
This year the judges ranged from super fans, to local television and radio hosts to alumni cheerleaders. Your job in the first round is to grab the judge’s attention because on their score sheet they have two options of yes or no, and you want the majority of judges to circle yes, so you can move on to round 2.
After everyone has gone they calculate the scores, and tryout numbers are announced for the participants moving on to Round 2. Contestants are holding hands tightly with anticipation of making it one step farther, as each number is called or skipped you see the joy and sadness flow through each person’s facial expressions.
The girls advancing to Round 2 get in place to learn the next dance, which is more complex and longer than the first round. Coach Alto rapidly teaches the routine giving the remaining contestants 15 minutes to practice and then Round 2 begins.
This round is judged by a much smaller panel of dance coaches from around the leagues. The participants go in groups of 10 for this round. At around 11:30pm the lucky few are announced to advance on to Round 3 for the following day.
Sunday consists of interviews and another dance round and by the end of the day the 1100 contestants has dwindled down to the lucky top 50. These contenders are chosen to go into training camp for the next few weeks, so Coach Alto can get to know the girls personalities and dance abilities more intimately. After weeks of the girls’ nerves being on high, comes the rose ceremony. The ceremony streams live on www.houstontexans.com and it is also broadcasted on local television stations.
Throughout the entire process of the tryout Coach Alto keeps everyone updated on Twitter @TexansCheer and on Facebook at Houston Texans Cheerleaders. The night of the Rose Ceremony is the final process, 35 of the 50 finalist will be chosen as the Houston Texans Cheerleaders. And for those 35 girls their dreams have now become a reality and they won’t be able to fathom the opportunities they have ahead.
However, this year’s Rose Ceremony had a twist. Coach Alto told us there was going to be a surprise, but the contestants could have never imagined who was going to walk in to hand them their roses, but the 41st President of the United States, President George H.W. Bush. He was so festive with his America Flag socks being worn proudly. He called each and every 2013 Houston Texans Cheerleader by name and congratulated them on their huge accomplishment. What an honor to have President Bush there to induct the girls into a wonderful organization.
The Houston Texans Cheerleader tryout process is full of emotions, talents, and dreams. The process is long and grueling for the contestants participating, but if you can make it through each cut, your life will be forever changed.
As a current Houston Texans Cheerleader I advise anyone who has ever even consider trying out to go for it, you never know what could happen if you don’t at least try.