By Tom Hinkley
Fenway Park might have the Green Monster, the Pesky Pole and all of its legendary retired Red Sox numbers, but Campanelli Stadium and the Brockton Rox have something that not even Fenway can offer — cheerleaders.
The Roxies, who are in their first year of existence, are made up of 11 college-aged women from around the area and Boston.
They can be seen dancing on the field between innings, greeting fans at the entrance gates and walking around the concourse during games.
Terry Perrotta, the coach of the Roxies, is the main reason for their creation.
“The Rox thought that having cheerleaders was a great idea when I brought it up,” said the Hyde Park resident. “They thought it would really add to the family atmosphere at the stadium.”
Perrotta had worked with many of the women before at a dance studio, but held an open tryout anyway.
“We had about 40 women show up for tryouts,” said Perrotta. “It was really hard to cut them down to only 11.”
Of the 11 women selected, eight of them had previous experience with Perrotta.
“Having a lot of us that knew each other before made it really easy to work together,” said Roxie Christine Campbell of Milton. “The other three blended in really smoothly and it has been great.
The squad, which appears at every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and most Thursday home games, practices Wednesday nights at Campanelli Stadium for a couple hours.
In addition to Campbell, other squad members include Tanya Soares of Somerville, Alana Megna of Boston, Judy Norton of Allston, Christine Campbell of Milton, Jenna Martell of Boston, Catherine O’Brien of Hyde Park, Jade Martell of West Roxbury, Kelly Stevens of Boston, Elizabeth Campbell of Milton and Stephanie Changeau of Stoughton.
The Roxies have all been dancing for most of their lives, but being a “cheerleader” is a new experience for a lot of them.
“Cheering is something new for a lot of us,” said Campbell, who is majoring in Crime and Justice Studies at Suffolk University. “We’ve danced forever, so it hasn’t been too big of an adjustment.”
Once the crew began performing at Rox home games, they were quickly labeled as cheerleaders, but most of the women don’t think that it’s an appropriate label.
“We get called cheerleaders a lot because we have the pom-poms,” said Campbell.
“We’re more like crowd pumper-uppers,” said fellow Roxie Norton, a Reebok Fit Model and Communications major at Regis College.
While the women do a fair amount of dancing, they see it is the least important aspect of their job.
“We really do more interacting with the fans and promotional stuff than actual cheering,” said Norton. “This is such a family environment, and we try to add to that.”
Outfitted in white, gold and teal uniforms with gold pom-poms, the women spend most of the game walking around Campanelli Stadium talking to fans from the front row to the luxury boxes.
“Being approachable is definitely the most important part of our job,” said Changeau, a registered nurse and recent grad of Regis College. “Being able to talk to people is more important than the dancing.”
One fan who frequently socializes with the Roxies is Michael Godina.
The youngster is arguably their biggest fan and carries a picture of the Roxies with him during games with hopes of getting all of their autographs.
“I come to a lot of the games, especially when the Roxies are here,” said Godina. “I just love them.”
The Roxies have become popular at Campanelli Stadium, so it is surprising to see that more teams do not have cheerleaders.
“I know that Quebec does (have cheerleaders) and New Jersey does,” said Perrotta. “But I’m really surprised that it hasn’t caught on more.”
Major League Baseball has a few organizations with cheerleaders, but, oddly enough, they are teams that struggle mightily with attendance.
The Florida Marlins’ Mermaids don’t exactly rake in fans the way that the organization would like, and neither do the cheerleaders for the Cincinnati Reds.
Although cheerleaders, or dancers, aren’t common for baseball teams, the Brockton Roxies hope to continue on in the future.
“We’ll be back next year,” said Perrotta. “Hopefully, we can bring back a lot of the same girls from this year, but we’re always up for some newcomers.”
Even if next year’s Roxies have some new members, they will always have fans like Godina, who seem to pay more attention to the cheerleaders than to the baseball game.
The Roxies hope that they will be around for years to come and that perhaps even more baseball teams will begin to follow suit.