Friday, March 21, 2008
By Blair Anthony Robertson
The Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee
Tracy Burns lives in two very distinct worlds.
There's the serious student in her first year at UC Davis Medical School. The hours are long, the stakes high.
Then there's the outgoing, exuberant and yes, scantily clad Oakland Raiders Cheerleader in the white patent leather boots working the sidelines on any given Sunday.
There's more. Burns, 27, is featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, perhaps the most famous single magazine issue in the publishing world.
She recently sat down to explain how a woman can be an aspiring surgeon and a high-profile cheerleader, how she embraces science and believes in God.
A Sacramento resident, she was a cheerleader at McClatchy High School. She has a younger brother and sister.
High-energy and curious: When I was young, I was very energetic, always asking questions. My mom always encouraged me to go wherever I wanted and explore.
Tall for a cheerleader: I'm 5-9. I've always been one of the taller kids in the class. I definitely went through a time when I wished I was shorter, especially with cheerleading because most cheerleaders are like 5-nothing.
Lifesaver on the squad: I was a pretty good back-spot ... the back-spot holds the flyer's ankles. If she should fall, the back-spot is there to catch her.
Being in Sports Illustrated: My (Raiderettes) director called me and said, "Are you sitting down?" I thought I was in trouble. She said Sports Illustrated wanted me to be in the magazine. I was like. What? You're kidding? I was absolutely astonished.
There goes the snacking: I said, OK, no more doughnuts. I definitely wanted to look good. I was not only representing myself but all of my Raiderette sisters, which is so, so important to me and the Raider Nation, which is huge worldwide.
Carload of Raiderettes: God bless my carpool. They would be really helpful. I remember one time Sarah and I were in the back of the car and she was holding up flash cards for anatomy. ...They were so very supportive. They'd let me palpate their thyroids.
The photo shoot: It's very big hair and light, natural makeup. We each took our turn in front of the camera, kind of jumping and dancing around.
To the scoffing critics: What does it matter? Live your own life. Don't hate.
Marie's, her mistress: Doughnuts are my favorite. Marie's Donuts is literally up the street from McClatchy High School. They have this rainbow sprinkles one that I adore. Then they have this whipped cream sandwich one. Ohhh! I feel like Homer Simpson.
Cheerleader, model, bespectacled: I have astigmatism and I'm nearsighted.
Yes, there's a boyfriend: He's a rocket scientist. We met on an airplane.
Textbook pickup move: I had sworn off guys. I had had some bad luck. I sat next to him on the plane and said, Who is this guy? He was a good-looking guy, but he was reading this variational calculus book. I'm like, are you kidding me?
Don't be a snob: It's unfortunate. There's so much to be learned from looking up. I see so many people looking down at the ground. You're missing the whole world.
Race relations: You have to get outside your box and go see how other people live. Talk to people. Say hello. You don't have to know someone to say hello. We're just so into ourselves these days. It's really sad.
On being a doctor: That's the million dollar question. There are easier things I could have done. Medicine intrigues me and stimulates me intellectually. I've always loved science. I think it's so cool how our bodies are put together.
Ailing health care system: We're shooting ourselves in the foot thinking we can let this whole health care thing fall by the wayside. The money is tight, but you have to prioritize. If you don't have your health, you don't have anything.
A negative message: Education sets the foundation for everything. When you take P.E. out of the curriculum, what are you teaching the kids? That exercise should be at the bottom of your list?
Guilty pleasure: Oh, I love to shop. Bebe is having an event and I'm afraid I'm going to miss it.
Internal cheerleader: Positive self-talk goes a very long way. We have a pharmacology final coming up. Instead of saying, I don't want to study, I say, I can't wait to study. ... Use that internal monologue for good.
A cheerleader for all: There's something to be said for a person or a team that says, come on you can do it. Imagine if you had that in your own personal life.
Role model: Maybe young girls and maybe women who are older than me might say, "She's got it going it on." ... I'm not saying emulate me, but see me as someone who has gone for her goals and said, "This is what I want and I'm going to get it."