Road Trip: An Arizona Overnighter

I like visiting Arizona.  The drive from Los Angeles is relaxing and not too long.  The people are nice.  The venues and professional sports teams are more fan friendly (e.g. camera policy).  And the cheerleaders are hot.  It makes for a nice overnight trip.

My good friend Max, our Arizona Correspondent, invited me out to catch the Raiders game.  Now, I was out at UOP Stadium in April to cover the 2010 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders auditions and I was in awe at the facility.  It’s an amazing venue and I wanted to see what it was like when packed with cheering fans, so I quickly accepted Max’s generous offer.

When the Raiders come to town, it’s always a bit of a freak show with all the bizarrely dressed Raiders fans. It makes for a great photo and Max ventured among them to take a few shots of these colorful individuals.  I used to be a Raiders season ticket holder, so it was nothing new for me.  As Max worked the crowd, I went in early to try to avoid heat stroke.  It was very hot and I was not accustomed to such blazing and intense heat. It reminded me of that scene in The Chronicles of Riddick, where Vin Diesel’s character is trying to escape the intense solar storms on the prison planet Crematoria.  Arizona in the summer time is an inferno without the flames.  But they have a cool new stadium that’s a must see.

As I entered the stadium, I was immediately hit with a rush of chilled air.  It was quite refreshing and my senses were overloaded with the sights and sounds of all the fans in attendance.  Visually speaking, UOP Stadium is brilliant.  The outer facade with its metallic silver skin resembles a coiled snake.  And the inside seating areas and inner concourse are well designed for functionality and aesthetics.  It’s a beautiful stadium inside and out.

But when the game started, one design issue became apparent.  The acoustics were terrible.  Perhaps that was due to all the raucous noise the Raiders and Cardinal fans were making as their team’s fortunes ebb and flowed.  It was as loud as I have ever heard at a sporting event.  As for the game, it was surprisingly suspenseful, a back and forth affair right until the very end.  Raider kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed his third field goal of the day to seal the win for the Cardinals, 24 – 23.

And for those people interested, I was able to snap a few photographs of the beautiful Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders.  Like UOP Stadium, the ACC are a must see too.

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Let me say that even indoors with air conditioning blasting on full, it seemed a tad warm.  Perhaps it was just me suffering the lingering effects of the heat, but I think it can get quite warm inside, especially with all those rabid Raider and Cardinal fans cheering their team.  I must say that the sight lines in the stadium are great and aside from the hardcore fans standing up all game long, you can get a decent view of the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders because there doesn’t seem to be as many people (photographers, sound men, game officials, and NFL types) along the sidelines.  So, I was fortunate to get the type of photographs that I like….clean backgrounds.

So, let’s begin our coverage of the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders by introducing my Cheerleader of the Day, Amanda.

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Continue reading Road Trip: An Arizona Overnighter

Sports Illustrated: NFL Cheerleaders (Week 3)

This week, Sports Illustrated’s gallery includes dance teams from the Buccaneers, Texans, Broncos, Dolphins, Saints, and Ravens. Click here to go there now!

2010 Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Profiles and individual photos now online. Click here to go there now!

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Esquire’s Monday Morning Cheerleader: Fabiola of the Dolphins

Miami lost a nail-biter to New York in primetime, but this week’s lovely sideline expert sees a big upside — and has some choice words for Braylon Edwards
By Steve Mazzucchi
Esquire.com
September 27, 2010

Not every Sunday night game lives up to NBC’s hyperbole, but if anything, the Week Three matchup between the Dolphins and Jets exceeded it. You had Chad Henne and Mark Sanchez dueling like actual adults, Brandon Marshall blowing up with a fantasy-friendly line, and Braylon Edwards, fresh off a DUI, hot-stepping down the sideline for a 67-yard score. And then you had Miami conducting a near-breathtaking drive that fell just a few yards short of taking things to overtime.

fabiola-esquire-sept-2010-350With the AFC East now topped by three different 2-1 teams, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll take it. But when it comes to the fire and fitness of the cheerleader squads, it’s hard to bet against the Dolphins and Louisiana-born, Venezuela- and Florida-raised Fabiola, who first came to fame as one of the FSU Cowgirls. “The whole thing was crazy, but it had nothing to do with me trying out for the Dolphins,” she told Esquire.com on Monday morning. “I would like to think I made the team because of my fabulous dancing and personality!” She knows a thing or two about football, too.

ESQUIRE: Tough situation at the end last night. What was the atmosphere like on that final push?

FABIOLA: The stadium was out of control. It was already a game that had so much hype, and Miami fans always want to beat the Jets. There were no empty seats.

ESQ: Despite the loss, were you proud of how the team rallied after going down 14-0?

FAB: Absolutely. The first quarter was a little disappointing. In the first couple minutes, when the Jets scored a touchdown, I was like, “No way — this is not gonna happen right now.” But then they really started coming back, and it was like, “Alright, the first quarter did not kill us.” We really gave it to them in the second quarter.

ESQ: This game was billed as a battle between two hard-running, tough-defending teams. Were you surprised by the amount of passing and scoring?

FAB: Critics were saying we needed to throw the ball more, and I think the Dolphins were trying to prove a point with this game. The defense could have been better. The first two games were all defense, so you can’t be mad at those guys. But I think the team looked freakin’ phenomenal out there. When the Jets beat the Pats, I was little scared. I figured they’d come in a little cocky and confident, thinking they can take us on like easy cake. I’m glad we put up a fight.

ESQ: Brandon Marshall accounted for 166 of Chad Henne’s 363 passing yards. He seems to be delivering action without antics for once. Is this what you expected when the team traded for him in the off-season?

FAB: Brandon Marshall was a stud, let’s just say it. Brian Hartline and Davone Best were also great, but Marshall was the talk of the game. When they brought him in there was huge talk in South Florida about it. We expected him to be amazing, and he is.

ESQ: Of course, he did say last month that he would play for the Heat or the Nuggets if there’s an NFL lockout next year. No shortage of confidence, huh?

FAB: Yeah, like the Heat will just pick him up, right next to all the amazing players they’ve got! But if the NBA did pick him up, he’d better play for the Heat. Don’t leave Miami. Don’t be a traitor.

ESQ: Speaking of which, LeBron James was in the stands and got cheered. Former Dolphin Jason Taylor was on the field and got booed. Fitting?

FAB: When they showed LeBron on the screen, the whole stadium went wild. I knew that Jason Taylor was not gonna get a good welcoming. He came out for the coin toss, and the entire stadium booed him. He was a big part of the Dolphins, he had a lot of community organizations, he was really involved — it was like Jason Town down here. So to see him go to one of our biggest rivals, our fans were disappointed, and they certainly let him know their feelings.

ESQ: Sort of like if LeBron went to a game in Cleveland?

FAB: Yeah, exactly like that.

ESQ: Braylon Edwards looked pretty sober scoring his touchdown. Should he have even been in the game?

FAB: No. Obviously it paid off for the Jets, but a DUI, that’s something I don’t take lightly. When you are a football player in that kind of life, why even put yourself in a drinking and driving situation? If that happened to a player on the Dolphins, he would not play. And if that ever happened in my team of cheerleaders, she’d be gone. He’s a double idiot. He got the DUI, and all he had to do was call for the car service.

ESQ: Tony Sparano: great mustache, or greatest mustache?

FAB: Greatest mustache ever. My dad had a pretty sweet mustache when I was growing up. I am pro-mustache, if you’re not dating me. I don’t want to feel all that facial hair. He wears it well.

ESQ: What were those knee socks/leg warmers you guys wore last night?

FAB: With the orange-jersey game, we wanted to make it more sporty and funky because we are wearing a jersey. So we cut the toes off of knee-high socks, cut the heel off, and slip them over our boots. We’re still in our three-inch heel boots, because who doesn’t go to a football game with three-inch heels?

ESQ: It’s been three weeks. Besides the Dolphins, who else could you see going to the Super Bowl?

FAB: I’m not even going to give you the satisfaction of saying the Jets. Maybe the Saints again. If I had a choice of my second team, it would have to be Saints, because I was born in New Orleans. I’m technically a Southern Spanish girl. You meet a lot of those, don’t you?

ESQ: Oh, for sure. You were one of the original FSU Cowgirls. If you’re sitting next to a guy in the stands, what could he do to impress you?

FAB: I’m really picky, I’m not gonna lie. I like guys that are themselves — fun, funny, and easy to hang out with. If you’re cocky, get out of here. We’re at a football game: let’s cheer, drink a beer, and have some fun.

ESQ: What about facepainting?

FAB: I’m all for facepainting. At FSU, we would do the little removable tattoos on our faces and bodies. I’m all for anything crazy that fans want to do, like the Super Noles with their bodies painted garnet and gold. I give bodypainting two thumbs up. And if you’re a big Dolphins fan, I love it. I’m all for it.

Click here for more on the Dolphins cheerleaders and their swimsuit calendar. (Fabiola graces the back cover and the month of November.)

Ravens Cheerleaders on the Sidelines

Click here and check out the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders doing their thing in their new purple unis.

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Bucs Cheerleaders Perform on My Fox Tampa Bay

Behind the Scenes On Game Day With the Falcons Cheerleaders

GIVE ME A ‘C': Colonials cheerleader aiming for NFL dream

By Hillary Federico
Middletown Press
September 27, 2010


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Catherine Avalone | The Middletown Press 9.23.10 Middletown resident, Ashlee Harvey, cheerleader for Hartford Colonials hopes to cheer for the NFL. someday. To buy a glossy print of this photo and more, visit www.middletownpress.com

MIDDLETOWN — Forget the American archetype of a blonde cheerleader in a tight sweater pining for the muscled quarterback. The peppy world of cheer no longer means sideline squads, existing solely to support other teams. They are teams — and athletes — in their own right.

High school and college cheerleaders compete for national championships. They risk terrible injuries to their backs, necks and heads. Some are recruited for college scholarships. They compete without the protective gear of a footballer and sometimes even practice twice as hard.

It sounds like a world turned upside down.

“It makes me so mad when people say cheerleading is not a sport,” Ashlee Harvey said. “I’d like to see a football player or a basketball player do what we do.”

And Harvey, 22, knows a thing or two about what she preaches. A Middletown resident and graduate of Mercy High School’s class of 2007, Harvey was just recently selected to cheer professionally for the Hartford Colonials cheer squad.

A lifelong dancer and gymnast, Harvey first entered the cheerleading arena when she was a freshman at Mercy.

“I had never done (cheerleading) before,” she said. “That was the year ‘Bring it On’ came out and I just thought, ‘I want to do that.’”

She made the squad that year and the rest, as they say, is history.

But the self-proclaimed “triple threat” has not always had it so easy. She said that she has always worked hard for what she wants — her dream to someday cheer professionally.

As a youngster, Harvey grew up surrounded by a world of glamour, costumes and rigorous practice hours. Some may say dancing is in her blood. Her mother, owner and director of Caffrey’s Dance and Gymnastics School, Maureen, instilled within her daughter a love of performing at a very early age.

“I have always been a leader when it comes to dance class,” Harvey said. “My mom jokes that I would never follow her routines. I would come up with my own stuff. I think I was born to dance.”

On a video, which Harvey jokes is kept as blackmail, a miniature version of herself jumps and prances around onstage. Her routine, which she had been perfecting for months went right out the window that day. Without a routine, Harvey let herself feel the music wholly. Unabashedly.

“I ended up getting the Too Cute Miss Attitude award,” she said beaming. “That’s probably my most prized moment. I won’t let my mom live it down.”

As the years progressed, Harvey made her way from a dancer to a teacher. At the age of 15 she decided to create and open her own dance class at her mother’s studio.

“They’re really like family,” she said. “A lot of my dancers I taught as babies and they’re 12 years old now talking about boys and they have cell phones.

“I always say I’m never going to have kids because I already have about 50 children here.”

Today, after making the transition to cheerleading, Harvey has made sure not to forget her roots.

“I still teach,” she said pointing proudly to the hordes of medals and stacks of trophies surrounding her in the dance studio.

Outfitted in a blue practice sweat suit, the curly haired young woman never stops smiling. She sips on an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts and keeps her legs crossed demurely as she talks, at times animatedly, with her hands.

You would never guess that Harvey has been up since 8 a.m. or balances a job as a receptionist in addition to teaching and cheerleading.

When asked how she makes it through eight hours of work, racing to dance class — the little ones are like my extra cup of coffee — and five hours of rigorous cheerleading practice — we do 288 high kicks every night — Harvey is blunt.

“I just keep smiling.

“Sometimes I think I’d really like to go out with my friends instead. You don’t go home and it just stops, that’s true, but it’s a passion. I can’t imagine my life without any of it.”

And that is Harvey in a nutshell — ever appreciative and always positive. Her one flaw?

“I cry a lot,” she said, her curls bouncing as she laughed.

“When I made the team, I cried. At our first game, I cried. When I received my choreography award, I cried.”

But don’t think she cried because she’s sad.

“I’m feeling nothing but joy right now,” she said. “I’m growing so much through this experience. I’m seeing that you always have to be a role model because people are looking up to you and watching your every move.”

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And though she is an all-star cheerleader now, Harvey credits her knowledge of football to her boyfriend of six years, high school sweetheart, Dustin.

“When I met (Dustin) I was your typical girly-girl. I liked ballet, and dance and makeup. He’s taught me everything about football. Now, I know random football facts and can actually hold a conversation with Dustin and his friends. Now, I can say, ‘yes, I am a football fan.’”

When asked what the future holds, Harvey said she doesn’t know.

“I don’t know if I’m going to try out again (next season) or try out somewhere else, but it’s going to be really hard to leave these girls.

“Ultimately, one day, I hope to cheer for the NFL,” she said.

2010 Charger Girls

Check out the new team photo! Hopefully the individual profiles will follow soon!

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Sharks Host Attack Dance Team Tryouts

The Jacksonville Sharks announce they will be hosting tryouts for the 2011 Jacksonville Sharks Attack Dance Team. Preliminary clinics begin October 15th, 2010 and culimate with the final auditions November 13, 2010 at the Jacksonville Landing.

Shark Attack Dance Team

Shark Attack Dance Team

The preliminary and semi-final tryouts will be held at First Class Athletics located at 6026 Bowdendale Rd in Jacksonville, FL. The final round of auditions will take place at the Jacksonville Landing November 13, 2010. The finals will be free and open to the public.

To become a Jacksonville Shark Attack Dance Team member, bring a completed tryout packet – found at jaxsharks.com – to the tryout along with $60 cash or money order (no checks or credit cards will be accepted).

All interested dancers must submit an application packet (which can be found at jaxsharks.com), a photo, and $60 registration fee (cash or money order only) to: First Class Athletics c/o Sharks Attack Dance Team, 6026 Bowdendale Ave. Jacksonville, FL 32216.

For more information please contact Kimberly Newbern at Kimberly@jaxsharks.com. Full information regarding tryouts, attire, directions and requirements can be found at jaxsharks.com.

[Shark Attack Dance Team Audition Information]

Sacramento Mountain Lions’ Cheerleader Tryouts

Auditions are over and the UFL Sacramento Mountain Lions Cheerleaders have been selected. 32 young women will entertain fans from the slidelines at Hornet Stadium this fall. Click here to take a look back at this year’s auditions.

49ers Gold Rush Photos (Week 2)

After a promising pre-season, the San Francisco 49ers’ playoff hopes took a hit with a terrible loss in their first regular season game. Which meant that Monday’s opening night match against the visiting Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints was a must-win game for the team. Exciting? Yes. A down to the wire thriller? Yes. A win for the Niners? Unfortunately, no. After a competitive, hard fought match, the Saints managed to squeak by the home team with a last minute field goal to win the game. But it was a big improvement for the Niners as their offense showed a glimpse of their full potential.

Fortunately for the Niners fans, one team in The Stick was at their usual best – the 49ers Gold Rush. These ladies braved the freezing winds and the cold weather just to help the fans cheer on the Niners.

Full album here.

Here’s hoping the Niners improve in the coming weeks so that everyone will have something to cheer about.

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Falcons Cheerleaders in New Music Video

The band Sevendust has done a cover of the song “Falcons on Top” and the Falcons Cheerleaders appear in the music video. Click here for behind the scenes video of the shoot and click here for photos.

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Sports Illustrated: NFL Cheerleaders (Week 2)

This week, Sports Illustrated covers the Redskins Cheerleaders, Cincinnati Ben-Gals, Jets Flight Crew, and Colts Cheerleaders. Click here to go there now.

Adele: 2010 Flight Crew Video Bio

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The Jets have posted a video bio of rookie Flight Crew member Adele. Watch the video here.