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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cheering for the home team 

Posted by Sasha at 6:07 PM ET

By Betsy Levinson
The Littleton Independent
Jan 28, 2008,

Littleton - With 400 to 500 applicants for 24 spots, becoming a cheerleader for the New England Patriots is as tough or tougher than getting into a top-flight college.

Littleton resident Corie Mae Callaluca made the cut, and is heading to Arizona this week to participate in the Super Bowl.

Nicknamed C-Mae, she is a rookie, or first year cheerleader who comes from Littleton where her father and “a ton of friends” still live. She is a student at Southern New Hampshire University who will graduate in May with a degree in small business management.

“I still can't believe it,” said Callaluca, a lifelong football fan with a background in dance.

She said there were 11 openings last year when she auditioned, and 300 young women tried out.

“It was a long stretch,” she said. “It wasn't easy. It was a vigorous, competitive tryout with all different types of dances.”
Callaluca said she will have a three-year gig with the Patriots.

She's been dancing since preschool, she said. She is now in her last semester of college, and spends about 20 hours a week with the Pats and the other half of her week working at her internship and studying.

Within the Patriots organization, she especially enjoys the competition-free culture among the cheerleaders.

“We are one big family,” said Callaluca. “There is no drama, no cattiness. We care about each other.”

She said the cheerleading coach keeps the team small and close, and they all go out on the field for every game. If you hurt yourself, Callaluca said, you deal with it.

“She trusts that we will practice and take care of ourselves,” Callaluca said.

“It's just a blast,” she said. “I'm out there with 24 of my best friends. Every game is an amazing event.”

As if the story couldn't get any better: the Giants have no cheerleaders.
“It will be all about us,” said Callaluca.

She said although she has met the Krafts, team owners, there is a “separation” between the team and the cheerleaders.

“Starting in September, we go out and do our job and they do theirs,” she said.

She said the day after a game, “you can be a little sore,” but you don't make a big deal out of it. The team has 13 routines that they will mount in their “signature uniform,” a halter-top, short shorts, and white boots with 3-inch heels.

Callaluca said she keeps in touch with her Littleton friends, and she will be thinking of them as she runs out on the field at the Super Bowl.

Her father, Peter Callaluca, said Corie Mae started dancing when she was about 4 years old.

He said she danced at the TaDah! Studio in Westford and became a cheerleader with the Manchester Arena Football Team before competing for one of 11 spots on the Patriots squad last year. Her dad said 300 others came out for tryouts.

“It was a long stretch,” said Peter. “It wasn’t easy. It’s a very rigorous competition with all different types of dancing.”

But according to her father, every day with the team is a dream come true.

“She said whenever she steps on the field, it’s a surreal experience,” said Peter. “She described it as a rush of adrenalin with all the excitement.”
“I am so proud of her,” said Peter.

He has gone to about seven games during the season, although he won’t be going to the Super Bowl.

Her bio information on the team Web site reveals that her favorite foods are “chicken parm and Kimball’s Ice Cream.
Go Pats!

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