Hey Redskins Nation, it's WRC Bethany here!
I just wrapped up my Rookie season as a First Lady of Football and let me tell you…I cannot emphasize how fast the time has gone by. As a Rookie, the current cheerleaders (or vets as we call them) would always tell me how unforgettable your Rookie season is, and they were not wrong! I still remember my first game walking throughout FedEx Field with fans shouting, "Look! There they are. The Redskins Cheerleaders." And for a split second, I'd mirror their excitement until I realized that of course….they were looking at me. The excitement never stopped from the moment my audition number (23) was called backstage as they announced the team to now.
While my poms may be on hung temporarily, off season has had many exciting life changes and experience. I recently moved in a new apartment with my fellow JMU "Dukette" alumni & I also have been dedicating much more of my free time to an added passion of mine that is being a high-school dance team coach. As a reader, I'm hoping the amount of dance in my life has convinced you how much I truly love this art form. If you aren't convinced yet, you will be! ;-)
"When I am not on the field", I am the Assistant Coach for the Oakton High School Dance Team. Every year, "The Cougarettes", compete at the Universal Dance Association National Championship; a dancer's Super Bowl if you will. For some insight, my dancers compete in the categories of Pom and High Kick. What in the world is "High Kick"? Think Radio City Rockettes plus the kick height of the Karate Kid. Ultimately, our goal is to make it to Finals within one or both categories. Not to toot my own horn, but each year under my leadership, the Cougarettes have successfully hit that goal. Toot Toot! A cute ritual of ours is that the team uses extra bed in my room at our Disney resort year after year to "tuck in" the trophies they've earned at night (cue fake eye rolls and stifled laugh). While this journey may have consisted of quirky tradions, lots of laughs, equal amounts of blood, sweat & tears, and yes…Disney sing-alongs (Frozen Anyone?)-nothing tops our celebratory victory day in Disney's Park *cue the fireworks!
Yes, I adore my Cougarettes and have no shame in showing it publicly by screaming "YES ladiiieeesss!" After all, I am a cheerleader…it's what I do best! Now, we are about to get a little teary eyed as this past year was bittersweet seeing some of my dancers graduate. I have been blessed with an opportunity to share years of my knowledge & passion for dance onto these young woman. I have been blessed with the ability to verbally and physically show them how being a member of the Cougarettes will inevitably be leading them towards the best version of themselves, IF they choose to put in the hard work. Here I am, a Redskins Cheerleader, who experienced similar rigorous practices, perfecting dances down to the smallest detail, and drilling them repeatedly to build stamina and endurance all thanks to my established work ethic as a Cougarette. Additionally, the ability to stay positive & receiving constructive criticism with a smile and a "Thank You" inevitably prepares these young dancers to overcome real-life challenges with a different perspective. As their "Coach Beth," it is a responsibility but also an honor to teach these young ladies that whatever life may throw their way, they have the ability to overcome, stay positive, and know that life doesn't get any easier, you just get better. Because of this coaching position that, I was inspired to never stop dancing and go after a dream of becoming a Washington Redskins Cheerleader. The impact my dancers have made on my life throughout the years is something I will never be able to thank them enough for. Coaching reignited my love and passion for dance, strengthened my ability and confidence as a leader, and ultimately provided me with an avenue to express my compassion towards leading the youth of our generation to greatness — whatever that may look like for each individual.
With the coaching season now over and a new season of cheerleading ahead, I have begun preparations for the 2020 – 2021. My dedication to taking dance classes and workshops has now shifted to a virtual platform in response to the recent shift in society's typical day-to-day routine. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the First Ladies of Football have moved our typical studio prep classes to an online version. How does that work? I am glad you asked Dancers who are interested register thru our website and will then join us on Zoom along with other dancers including current and alumni cheerleaders. Just like in the studio, we work on fitness, technique, & learn a fun routine….in the comfort of our homes. I highly encourage those to take advantage of this new method as it is a great way to learn more about our style & learn more about dance especially if you are out of state Despite the shift in our "normal" schedule this season and furthermore life, I am continuously amazed by the ability of our organization to remain more connected than ever through our love and passion for dance during these virtual WRC prep classes. I am proud to be a member of this legendary organization as I am reminded of our biggest role: to continuously spread cheer.
I hope everyone has enjoyed following along in my journey as a WRC Rookie this past year, learned a little bit about my love of dance and coaching through this blog, and continues to spread cheer in any way you can – especially in our current state of need! Stay safe, healthy, and be kind to one another.