The Toronto Argonauts chose their 2013 cheer team yesterday. Click here to check out photos from finals.
The Toronto Argonauts chose their 2013 cheer team yesterday. Click here to check out photos from finals.
That’s a photo from last Sunday’s Grey Cup, the championship game for the Canadian Football League. Every Grey Cup features cheerleaders from all the CFL teams. They perform at events leading up to the game and the game itself. How awesome would it be if the NFL brought in all their cheerleading squads for the Super Bowl?
The Toronto Argonauts will battle the Calgary Stampeders for the 100th Grey Cup on the field at the Rogers Centre on Sunday. On the the sidelines, it will be the Blue Thunder vs. the Outriders.
The cheerleading crews for both squads will be out in full force supporting their teams — and providing a distraction between plays — during the big game.
Who would win your vote to secure the Grey Cup if it were up to these ladies? The underdog, come-from-behind Blue Thunder or the red-hot Outriders? Does it matter? Let us know!
Football season has already begun for our neighbors to the North. It’s time to check in with the ladies of the Canadian Football League. Click here to read up on the 2012 Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders.
TORONTO – They came. They saw. They did a little dancing.
That was the story Saturday when fierce competition met the Rennaissance Hotel and close to 100 hopefuls attempted to become Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.
An intensive two-day process, the tryouts are a demanding blend of physical workouts and personal interviews that seek to discover who will work best on the team of 30.
“We’re looking for a combination of three things: great performers, great physique and an outgoing personality,” says Jorie, who is beginning her third season as head coach of the squad. “We’re always trying to build upon the success of last year but it’s especially exciting this year for the Grey Cup.”
Toronto will host the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup. Cheerleaders are expected to participate in over 20 events throughout the city every year, but that number will increase this season in light of the momentous occasion.
It’s a commitment that exerts plenty of pressure on the girls, many of whom are also developing their careers in fields as diverse as marketing, engineering and chiropractic. Despite having gone through it before, some of of the girls from last year may not make the cut.
“We had a great team last season but you get nervous for the returning girls,” says Co-Captain Jessica, entering her fifth year on the squad. “There is new part of the process this year with the fitness test that focuses on core strength and your ability to maintain composure.”
Soon after the successful candidates are chosen, the team will head to Boot Camp. There they will develop their fitness and bond as a team. It’s all in the interest of entertaining the fans.
“I know what I want to see,” says Rudy Blair, avid Argos fan and judge for the past nine years. “Women who enjoy life, who enjoy what they are doing. Some of them just have that ‘it’ factor and others just will not make the cut.”
The Toronto Argonauts are looking for 30 women to comprise the 2012 Argos Cheerleaders, presented by the Toronto Sun, and be part of the 139th season of Argonauts football as well as the 100th Grey Cup Festival and Game to be hosted right here in Toronto!
Jorie Brown, Head Coach of the Argos Cheerleaders, commented, “As a member of one of the most entertaining cheerleading teams in professional sport, you’ll feel the rush of running into a stadium filled with tens of thousands of screaming Double Blue fans, the exhilaration from the routines you get to perform with your teammates, and fulfillment from all of the great community work we participate in year round. This year will be one of the most exciting seasons to join the Argos Cheerleaders because the 100th Grey Cup Festival and Game will be right here, in our very own city! I want to encourage all ladies from different dance and cheer backgrounds to audition and be part of something very special in 2012.”
As a member of the Argos Cheerleaders, you’ll perform at every home game and select away games, as part of Toronto’s most exciting and established cheerleading team. On the field, you will capture the attention of thousands of fans at Rogers Centre. In the stands, you will meet the city’s most dedicated sports fans. This is your opportunity to represent your city, support some meaningful charity events and act as a role model for many young girls.
Toronto will also host the 100th Grey Cup Festival and Game which gives members of this year’s squad an opportunity to be a part of history. You’ll represent the Double Blue on a national stage during Canada’s largest annual event over ten energy-packed festival days in November, culminating in front of thousands of CFL fans at the big game, and millions more on television, at Rogers Centre!
If you are female, 19 years and over, reliable, physically fit with dance, cheer or gymnastics experience and a positive attitude – we want you to try out! The Argos Cheerleaders have been an integral part of the Argo game day experience for over 30 years and now is your turn to come out and become one of the 30 members of the team. Those who audition will be evaluated on appearance, dance skills, showmanship and personality.
New headshots have been posted for the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders. Click here to check ‘em out. (No profiles or uniform shots yet, but the CFL season starts this month, so I expect updates will be posted sooner rather than later.)
As the students gazed upon Casey N. decked out in her Toronto Argonauts cheerleader uniform, it was hard for them to comprehend that she had been a victim of bullying.
But she had, in Grade 9 in Winnipeg.
During a class, her fellow students started giggling after the textbooks had been passed out. “I didn’t know what was going on,” Casey recalled of that moment when she was 15. “I can hear my name being whispered back and forth. I open my textbook and in my textbook on the inside cover it says, ‘Casey is a big fat slut.’
“I look at the person sitting next to me, there’s something really awful written about me in their book, too, and the person in front of me and the person behind me.”
Every text book in the class had something untoward written about Casey in permanent marker so that it could not be adequately covered up.
It was something she had to relive for the rest of the school year each and every time she had that class and the textbooks were distributed.
“Back then, I didn’t have Facebook,” Casey said. “But to me, that was the equivalent of Facebook. Instantly, 36 people saw something really horrible written about me and they talked about it.”
Casey, now 26, is the newest ambassador in the Argos’ efforts to combat bullying in schools.
For 10 years the CFL team has operated its Huddle Up bullying prevention program that started with players being sent to schools in the Greater Toronto Area to speak out against bullying.
Over the next week, the football team will be staging its fifth annual Huddle Up Student summits that will bring together student leaders from the GTA to share ideas that helped keep their schools safe from bullying behaviour.
The campaign, the only one of its kind in Canada involving a professional sports team, was spearheaded by Jason Colero, who is the Argos manager of community relations.
While a Grade 9 student in Toronto, Colero was constantly picked on and ostracized by many of the other students because of his small stature.
He said it nearly drove him to suicide.
Over the past two years, when it became apparent that bullying affects girls as much as boys, the Argos sensed their cheerleaders could do more than just shake their pom-poms.
The women – who do not want their last names published over safety concerns because of the public nature of their cheerleading jobs – are now a significant component of the Huddle Up campaign, regularly speaking to groups of girls in high school and elementary settings about bullying.
Both the Argos cheerleaders and the players are trained by the Canadian Safe School Network (CSSN) on how to properly counsel the students they speak to about bullying.
“Usually cheerleaders are only used as an accessory to an event where the players are the focus,” said Beth Waldman, an Argos spokesperson. “We’re the first CFL team to use our cheerleaders as actual mentors in a community outreach program.”
The main message they deliver is that the first step to stop the spread of bullying is to tell a person in authority – a teacher, a parent or a police officer – that they are being harassed.
That is not always the easiest choice if the person is being picked on because he or she is overweight, a loner or is struggling with grades.
Judging by the reaction of the contingent Casey recently spoke to at Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School here, the endeavour is proving worthwhile.
“It was powerful,” Chantaine Green-Leach, a Grade 12 student at the school, said after the presentation. “I couldn’t even eat. It’s great to know that there are successful people out there with stories like this who we can relate to.”
Brigitte G., another of the Argos cheerleaders who is involved in Huddle Up, said the girls she speaks to view them as a role models.
“During one presentation one of the girls stood up and proclaimed that these other girls had been basically bullying the entire school,” she said. “She told us she wasn’t going to let it happen any more. That was very empowering for me.”
Studies in Canada have estimated that as many as one in five school-aged children have been bullied.
Stuart Auty, president of the CSSN, said a recent school board survey of 8,000 students in Winnipeg revealed that 50 per cent of respondents reported being bullied.
Auty said 9 per cent of those students said the problem was so bad they were fearful of going to school.
While both girls and boys will resort to physical violence when bullying, girls will often add a more covert psychological twist.
They utilize social networking websites such as Facebook or MSN to post derogatory comments about other students that quickly spread throughout the school community.
That form of bullying is commonly referred to as cyber-bullying.
“Now you’ve got bullies who’ve got weapons and more and more of them are girls,” Auty said. “The girls are significantly active in this whole Internet realm.”
By Jonathan Brodie
Participants were literally doing backflips Sunday to make the cut on to the Toronto Argonauts cheerleading team.
“Every year we’re always looking for the total package — great looks, great physique, and obviously dance moves are very important,” said Jorie Brown, head cheerleader of the squad.
The auditions — held at the Renaissance Hotel at the Rogers Centre — opened Saturday with dancers learning basic choreography and going through a gruelling Argos bootcamp.
The tryouts continued Sunday with personal interviews and dance routines.
“(It was) much harder than any audition I’ve ever been to before,” said new Argo cheerleader Jackie, who also cheered with the now defunct Ottawa Renegades.
“It was hard to keep going but there was no way I was going to stop.”
The auditions started with over 125 dancers, with their ranks cut to 34 heading into Sunday. In the end, 24 cheerleaders were given a blue rose to symbolize that they had made the squad.
“I’m just so happy to be a part of it because I know there were so many other girls that were great, as well; so I’m just honoured that they chose me,” said Jackie, who was cut from the team in her first tryout seven years ago.
Since the size of this year’s squad was reduced to 24 dancers from 34 last season, even Argo cheerleading veterans were worried about making the cut.
“You never know when you’re coming back, who’s going to come out, and everyone brings a lot of different things to the team, so there’s always nerves,” said fourth-year Argo cheerleader Alyssa.
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