College: Houston Baptist University Tenure: 3 seasons
Trying out for the Houston Texans Cheerleaders was the best decision I've ever made. I've been on the team for two seasons now, and each year has gifted me with special memories, beautiful friendships, incredible performances, and opportunities that most dream about! In fact, I still have moments where I pinch myself out of pure awe at what I get to do-serve the Houston community, meet some of the most amazing people, perform in front of thousands of Texans fans, and be a part of an incredible family. HTC is, and continues to be, better than I could have ever imagined.
When my family, friends, and teammates asked me if I wanted to audition for a third season, my answer was undoubtedly and absolutely YES. And that answer remained true, even in the midst of a scary and uncertain global pandemic.
When I received the email announcing that the 2020 HTC Tryouts were going virtual, I felt a surge of mixed emotions. Initially, I was a little disappointed that we couldn't have tryouts in person. I missed my HTC family so much, and at that point in time, it was the longest we had ever been apart from one another. In addition, I was looking forward to the fun, exhilarating, passion-filled, and adrenaline-pumping atmosphere that fills the Houston Methodist Training Center every year at tryouts (I can assure you that anyone who has auditioned for HTC knows exactly what I'm talking about). However, I understood why the audition process had to take place a little differently this year, so I chose to remain strong, positive, and hopeful, and had faith that everything would work out for the good of the Houston Texans organization, the cheerleaders, and our resilient community.
Soon after we found out that tryouts were going virtual, all HTC hopefuls received an email that included the Round 1 dance video choreographed and taught by our very own, Coach Casey, as well as detailed instructions on how to ensure that each participant submitted everything correctly. As a returning Vet, I was very impressed with just how much thought and preparation went into the virtual tryout process-everything was so structured and organized, which really helped me feel more at ease and confident pursuing a spot on the team. Also, they provided the cutest templates for us to post on our social media stories, which I believe allowed aspiring HTCs to stay connected to the other people auditioning, granting us a sense of shared experience and mutual excitement at advancing to the next round. Luckily, the thrill and anticipation that we all know and love about the tryout process was still there, after all-it had simply been manifested in a new way.
We each had to submit videos online that best showcased our individual personality, dance technique, fitness, and ability to learn and perform a routine in an efficient amount of time. While this was uniquely challenging, it was also highly rewarding. In fact, I was fortunate enough to have a best friend on the team, who was also trying out again, and who offered her dancing space to film my audition videos. In addition to that, I received some of the sweetest, most encouraging messages from my fellow teammates throughout the entire process. To me, this demonstrated just how close-knit our sisterhood is, and that we can always lean on each other for support. This kind of comradery is what makes being an HTC so special, and is why I keep coming back for more.
After the Interview Round, due to the prolonged uncertainty and nature of the pandemic, all of the remaining HTC hopefuls had to wait longer than expected to find out who would be selected for the 2020 season. As time passed, my emotions heightened, but in spite of the stress, this longer waiting period created time for me to reminisce. In fact, while awaiting the results, I was actually able to reflect on all of my experiences as a Houston Texans Cheerleader. I remembered the thrill of making the team for the first time, the gratitude I feel about being a part of the HTC family for life, how much I love bonding with my teammates at practices, the magic of Gameday, being blessed with makeup and hair angels, performing awesome halftime shows with T-Pain, Flo Rida, and Big Boi from Outkast (to name a few), and traveling overseas to London with five of my teammates last year. All of these wonderful experiences reminded me of how much HTC truly means to me, and that my heart wasn't done yet.
With that being said, I'm sure you can imagine how insanely happy and blessed I felt at hearing my name called while watching the 2020 Houston Texans Cheerleaders announcement video! It was very special, too, because Texans fans, season ticket holders, and HTC Alumni virtually presented and congratulated each individual who made the team. How cool is that? Needless to say, no matter how challenging or nerve-wracking virtual tryouts might have been, they were more than worth it.
This season, I plan to soak up every HTC moment I'm given, and appreciate them that much more. I am really looking forward to when I can (safely) hug my teammates a little tighter and to all of the late night practices where we leave utterly exhausted, but in the most gratifying way possible. I also can't wait to pour my heart and soul into this team, or to experience that breathtaking feeling that we only get on Texans Gameday. Lastly, I'm excited for our Houston community to come together and focus on something that extraordinarily and beautifully unites us all-our passion and love for the Houston Texans.