Monday, May 14, 2007

Beyond the Pom-Poms: Janelle 

Posted by James at 12:55 PM ET

From Panthers.com

1. What are you up to now?
I started my own company, Rayford Smith Realty and I am a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition, I started another company with two other partners called Triangle Contracting Company. I now have my general contractor's license and am getting ready to build my first spec home. God has truly blessed me with many opportunities, such as a great business partner and a new investor.
Janlle, Carolina TopCat

2. What was your most memorable moment as a TopCat?

My most memorable moment was the game we played against the Pittsburgh Steelers during my first season as a cheerleader (1996). It came down to the last second of that game, and the Panthers won! I remember hugging everyone around me on the field, dropping down to my knees and crying because I was full of excitement. We were going to the playoffs! I felt as though I had been on the field playing the game against the Steelers. It was truly an emotional moment for me, one that I will never forget.

3. Do people still give you that "I know her from somewhere" look?

Yes. I was in Pizza Hut last month, and this gentleman came up to me and said, "Didn't you cheer for the Panthers?" I proudly said, "Why yes, I did." Then I asked him how did he remember me from 10 years ago. He told me his son STILL has the cheerleading poster in the garage on the wall. I thought to myself, "How cute!"

4. What do you miss the most from your TopCat experience?
I truly miss the entire program. What I miss most is the awesome times I had in the lockerroom and on the field. The entire squad had such a great bond with each other. We were like a family. I truly miss that!

Janlle, Carolina TopCat
5. During Super Bowl XXXVIII, I was...

With one of the former TopCats and a few other friends at a Super Bowl party.

6. When you go to games now who do you watch more, the players or the current TopCats?
Of course I watch the TopCats. You can't help but watch them...they're awesome!

7. If I could give a current TopCat advice, it would be...

You are a part of the best organization in the NFL. Make the most out of this experience. It will be the best years of your life!!

8. How many games do you go to or watch on TV?
I have attended every single home game since I stopped cheering. When my season ended in 1998, I asked if I could assist with the program. With that said, I have been a field assistant since 1998.

Janlle, Carolina TopCat
9. How has your experience with the TopCats benefited you today?
I can truly say this experience was invaluable. This program not only taught me how to be professional on the field but off the field, too. To this day, I still make sure to arrive 15 minutes early for appointments and I make sure to conduct myself in a professional manner no matter who I come in contact with.
10. What do you miss the most about the TopCats?
I miss the overall experience. The friendships and the experience I gained through this program have meant a great deal to me. I am honored to still be a part of such a remarkable organization. Go TopCats!!!

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