Saturday, July 21, 2007

Celtics Dancer Blog 

Posted by Sasha at 1:23 PM ET

Haley's 2007 Audition Blog
Boston Celtics

July 14, 2007
One of my roommates is a second year emergency medicine resident. When she got home the other night, she told a story about a patient who had no heart rate as they were rushed into the ER. She explained to me that they had been able to restart the patient's heart- what a miracle, huh?

Well, I nearly needed a miracle heart-starting myself procedure Thursday night at Avalon. As each member of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers was announced I swore I could have fallen into cardiac arrest. Allow me to explain...

At 7:30 p.m., all of the finalists were busy getting ready. The hairspray that filled our dressing room was probably enough to do some significant damage to the ozone layer. Various members of the media were being ushered out so that all of the finalists could get dressed. I queued up my iPod to some nostalgic jams from last season to bring about good luck. Blackstreet's "No Diggity" was the song of choice and all the while I'm thinking: I hope the judges "like the way I work it" tonight.

At 8:15, the announcement was made for everyone to head down to the stage. All of us finalists quickly gathered together. As we all linked arms, Courtney took charge and gave a little pump-up speech. "Regardless of what happens at the end of the show," she said, "we are all on one team right now -- the Celtics Dancers finalist team." We all shook our heads in agreement -- we'd worked too hard over the past three days to perform at any level less than our very best. With that, we all headed downstairs ready to make this one fierce final audition production.

Backstage I could hear the sea of people in the audience. Overhead, a booming voice declared that the show was about to begin. The first group of dancers hit their spots on stage, the fog machine kicked in to set the mood, and the curtain shot open as the first beats of the music boomed. Just like that, the show was under way.

Schoolgirls, bikini clad bombshells, and stunningly beautiful soloists; all of the finalists played several roles over the course of the production. Lots of turns, jumps, smiles, struts, and whips of hair later, the show was over. I swear I blinked and it was done. And while the adrenaline makes it hard for me to recall exactly how everything went, I am certain of one thing: I had a pretty good time. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel that I had a flawless performance, but as I exited the stage following my solo I felt excited to find out what lucky ladies were going to make this team.

That excitement stayed with me as we lined up on stage in our cocktail dresses for the final announcement of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers. Flowers in hand, Marina stood on stage ready to welcome 21 women into an NBA organization and experience unlike any other. I just prayed that I would get to be a part of it all for a second time.

The MC began to call out numbers followed by names, and my excitement turned quickly into nervous anticipation. I saw my teammates from last season, joined by new beautiful and talented faces, accept their flowers and walk the catwalk to thank the crowd. I was so proud to see my friends be rewarded for the amazing work that they had done that night.

Before long, there were only five spots remaining to be filled. Please let there be room for me to join that line, I thought to myself.

The next finalist was announced; four more spots remaining. I took a deep breath and another number was called -- not mine. Three more spots left. An additional finalist name was declared over the mic, not me. At this point, only two more selections remained. There was a bottle of wine with my name on it waiting at my apartment, and I mapped out how I could get to that wine gracefully should I not be selected. The second-to-last name was read. I held my breath. Nope, not me.

At that point, as I stood on stage under bright lights holding my pose, I felt my heart drop into my stomach. The next name was the final name and my last chance at another season as a Celtics Dancer. Was it possible that I would be saying goodbye to the experience that has defined the past year of my life? I did not want to answer questions like this, but they were echoing through my mind. Stay calm, I coached myself.

"There is only one more spot remaining to be called," the MC said. I closed my eyes; my palms were sweaty- I hate sweaty palms. "And the FINAL member of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers was wearing the number one ('Who is number one?', I thought. 'She is lucky.')...nine: Haley!"

Wait a second, number one-nine?!?! Nineteen?!?! Haley?! That's me! My heart fell from the pit of my stomach down to the stage. I grabbed my chest and felt like I was floating as I crossed the stage to give Marina a huge hug. Walking that catwalk was a blur. I felt like the luckiest girl in the room. Not only was I privileged to be selected for membership to an amazing team, but I had evaded an actual heart attack.

And that, my friends, is why I was almost in need of my own heart-starting procedure Thursday night. That is why I had visions of my roommate in the ER rushing toward me saying, "This patient went into cardiac arrest this evening at Avalon when the Celtics dance team was announced."

Lucky for me, instead of spending my night in the emergency room, I was fortunate to be sharing the stage with my new teammates. As the cameras flashed and the new team exchanged hugs and congratulations, I began to tear. When the curtains had been drawn and I embraced my friends backstage, I began to cry. Tears of relief, happiness, excitement�tears that you cry when you know that you have something really good.

Yup, this new team is definitely really good. Actually, they are really great! The 21 women who make up the new 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers are some of the most beautiful and talented people that I have ever seen. Congratulations to everyone! I look forward to sharing an amazing season with you all.

I'm no fortune teller, but my prediction is that this season is going to blow fans away. Get ready for game night entertainment that surpasses any other team in the league. So, "Let's go Celtics!" and "Let's go Celtics Dancers!". Boston, we'll see you on the court in November -- no way you'll be able to miss us out there dancing our hearts out.

Over and out,

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