Sunday, May 13, 2007

MVC Journal 

Posted by Sasha at 3:46 PM ET

by Ali, Vikings.com
May 9, 2007

It is so exciting to say that "I am a Minnesota Viking's Cheerleader!" My name is Ali and this is my first year on the team. The Minnesota Vikings have been a Sunday event in my household for my entire life and it's so great to now be part of this organization.

I actually thought about trying out for the team last year, but since I was attending school in Duluth and my class schedule was busy I decided against it. When the time came this year for the tryout process, my school schedule was more flexible and allowed me the ability to drive to Winter Park for Training Camp. I guess everything happens for a reason.

On the open audition day, I thought I would be nervous. But surprisingly I was very calm. At 9:00 a.m. the doors opened and many beautiful women filed in. After a quick warm-up and stretch we started learning our first dance; the choreographer moved quickly and I had to clean the cobwebs out of my head since I hadn't danced in a couple years.

After a couple times through the whole dance the judges were ready for us. In our tryout groups of four we danced twice through the number for the panel of judges. Some of those trying out were eliminated. This nerve-wracking process was repeated a couple more times throughout the long day. Finally, after almost nine hours, the final cut was made. I had made the cut from over 150 to the final 55! The real test of my commitment had only just begun.

I began to juggle my classes in Duluth with the long 2 1/2 hour drive down and back again for a photo session, fittings for a custom try-out costume for the final audition, and of course our PRACTICES!! Our practices didn't just consist of dancing our dances--there was strength conditioning, too. This consisted of starting the rehearsal off by running three miles (a/k/a "The Block") and lots of lunges, sit-ups, and pushups. It felt great to be dancing again and working out with this bunch of wonderful women. Sometimes after practices I stayed with friends or family, and sometimes I made the long drive back to Duluth after practice ended at 10:00 p.m. I put on over 1,000 miles a week for several weeks, and spent over $500 on gas! (It was all worth it.)

As the month of April moved on toward the final audition, I began to feel friendships and bonds forming with many of the women around me. I had also made a friend the very first day of open auditions and we stuck with it together. We all worked hard and dancing came right back to me like I had never left it. My audition costume was coming together and everything felt like it was happening for a reason.

Finally, it was time for the final audition at the Mall of America. I had an entire row filled with friends and family, including my aunt who spent her birthday cheering me on instead of celebrating it with her family! The long drive from Duluth had given me lots of time to run through everything in my head and I had a good friend with me who kept me motivated.

Hundreds of fans and curious onlookers lined all of the levels surrounding the rotunda. The music was loud and funky and before I knew it, it was time to GO! We auditioned solos, jazz, kick, funk, and a cheer, and we all did a personal introduction to the large crowd and the 20 judges. Everyone did such a great job that I didn't know how the judges were ever going to choose from approximately 30 out of the 54 awesome performers.

The 2 hour audition flew by and it was over, with a promise from Tami that we would know early the following afternoon if we had made the team. I went out to eat with a few of my friends and my mom and then made the long drive back to Duluth. I knew with all my heart that I wanted to see a "952" area code on my phone the following day.

My phone rang on Wednesday, shortly after noon and my heart stopped. I answered it and it wasn't Tami. I told my friend who was on the other line that she had just about given me a heart attack! I had no sooner put the phone down and it rang again. This time, I looked at the number and it had a "952" area code!!! When I answered it, Coach Tami Krause was calling me to welcome me to the 2007 MVC Team!!! I burst into tears as my roommates grabbed a camera and captured a picture of one of the most exciting moments of my life.

I am looking forward to the MVC experience for so many reasons—to be part of a team again, to dance again, to make long-lasting friendships, to meet wonderful people, and to be a representative of the Minnesota Vikings! The audition experience has taught me that if you set your mind to anything, you can accomplish it.

With all that said...Go Vikes!

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