Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Jets Flight Crew Spotlight: Ryann 

Posted by Sasha at 6:08 PM ET

Young Ryann and Her Hair Have a Flair
By Eric Allen
Senior Managing Editor

As we get set to add another year to our calendar, we figure no time's better than the present to feature the youngest member of the Flight Crew.

“This is really only my second year on a dance team and to be in the NFL is amazing,” Ryann said. “These other girls have been on plenty of dance teams, so I look up to each and every one of them.”

You might have noticed Ryann at the Meadowlands. She’s got the long blond hair that her teammates have given a nickname.

“They call it the 11th member of the team,” she said. “I just trimmed it, cut a half of an inch actually. Everyone makes fun of me.”

Despite the recent cut, Ryann hasn’t made a habit of taking the scissors to her locks.

“I remember cutting my hair once and my mom really wanted to punch me, but I’ve always had long hair,” she said with a laugh.

Ryann’s fit in well with her elder teammates. They are a cohesive group who will end their regular season Sunday as the Jets host the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I speak to them the same way I would speak to someone who was my own age,” she said. “I didn’t even believe them that they were that old. It’s still hard for me to look at them and say, ‘Wow, she’s really 25?’ "

Before she joined the Jets last summer, Ryann, a C.W. Post student, danced for the Long Island Lizards. She was a Lizard Girl, performing about six times a season at Mitchel Field near the Jets' Hofstra University complex.

“It was outdoor lacrosse and it’s nothing, nothing, nothing like the Jets,” she said. “You’re dancing in front of the players’ families and your family if they want to come. There were probably 200, 300 people in the crowd.”

Since she was a young girl, Ryann had her eyes set on dancing for a pro sports team. The Lizards provided her an initial opportunity.

“I had just turned 18 and you had to be 18 to audition,” she said. “It was the first audition that came up and my friend was like, ‘Let’s totally try out.' In high school I was on the kickline and I was a cheerleader at one point.”

The Jets crowd is a little bit different than the friendly confines of Mitchel Field. Ryann has received a number of proposals this year.

“They can get a little out of hand. People ask you to marry them tomorrow and some ask you to go out with them next week,” she said. “You just brush it off, smile and wave.”

In addition to being a full-time student and a dance teacher, Ryann is a waitress at a Greek/Italian restaurant in Long Island.

“I started as a phone girl. I wasn’t even allowed on the other side of the counter,” she said. “I wanted to start working when I was 15 and it was literally right around the block from my house. My first shift on Fridays was from 5 to 7 p.m., but I’m up to around 25 hours a week now.”

Ryann also has picked up some hours bartending at her cousin’s tavern.

“I haven’t been working there for a very long time, but I could tell you people’s names,” she said. “I like interacting with people and I like talking to people. I’m not one to sit home and relax.”

You can chalk it up to youthful exuberance.

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