Monday, April 14, 2008

2008 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Introduced at Aventura Mall 

Posted by Sasha at 9:25 PM ET

By Andy Kent
Special for MiamiDolphins.com
April 14, 2008

Thousands of lucky shoppers at the Aventura Mall got to meet the 2008 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders for the first time Saturday as the squad was officially introduced after a day of final auditions performed in front of a live audience.


In a slight change in format, the 42 ladies chosen out of 74 that made it to the finals learned of their selection at the same time as the audience, leading to a raw display of emotion on the stage when the names were called. By opting to announce the new squad in that fashion, the Dolphins allowed the public a unique glimpse into just how much it means to be a Dolphins cheerleader and how much preparation goes into it.

"It's so exciting to see how happy that they are," said Dorie Grogan, Director of Events and Entertainment and one of the 10 judges. "It's kind of bittersweet because there are girls that were on the team last year that didn't make it back, and I know that they're sad but I hope that they leave knowing that they got one year of a wonderful experience. So it's bittersweet. I'm so happy for the new girls and ready to start a new beginning."

One of those veteran cheerleaders that did make the final cut is Missy, who lives in Bonita Springs and works in Naples. For the last two years she has been on the squad and made the long drive across Alligator Alley on a regular basis to attend rehearsals and perform at the games. She was kept in suspense as the squad was being introduced, with her name being the second to the last one called.

Having already seen six of her friends from the 2007 squad not make the final cut, Missy began to experience more than her normal share of butterflies. There were 28 veterans battling it out with 46 newcomers for the distinguished honor of being an official Miami Dolphins cheerleader, something that Missy has taken very seriously, so there was a combined sense of relief and sadness for her in the end.

"It's the same excitement always because you're always proud to make it, however it's nerve-racking," Missy said. "This is the first year that they had announced it in the mall. Typically they take us back in groups and they redo your numbers, and I was called next to last today. It's better than not being called at all and for sure my heart was pounding. You're trying to count because you have no idea how many they're going to take either and it's always different.

"It definitely doesn't get any easier. I thought in the third year it would be a little easier, but you still get the butterflies. It's still always a brand new competition because there's a brand new crop of girls."

The judges deliberated for a little over 30 minutes in a secluded location in the mall while the 74 ladies waited nervously in a holding area. When it was time to reveal the 42 names, all 74 ladies were brought back out and lined up on each side of the stage. Kenny Walker individually introduced the cheerleaders who had made it by calling their number and their name so that those in the crowd that were following a specific cheerleader could know right away if their favorite had made it.

When newcomer Desiree heard her name called, the college student from Naples, whose big and bright smile was what had helped sway the judges in her favor, could not hold back her tears of joy. Her family and friends, fronted by her proud mother and two best friends from high school, were in the audience cheering her on and she still managed to hold onto her smile as she cried.

"I am very emotional, very happy. It was a wonderful experience," said Desiree, who was trying out for the very first time. "I can't wait for the season. I can't wait to try on a uniform, practice every night, and I'm ready. I'm excited to get started and I'm happy that the people I care about were here to support me, and I've made a lot of friends on the squad already."

There wasn't much time to celebrate and bask in the glory as the new squad met Sunday to sign official NFL contracts and go over what is without a doubt a very rigorous schedule of rehearsals, appearances and of course NFL games at Dolphin Stadium.

Even the judges and official leaders of the squad went through their own wave of emotions throughout the day as each of them latched on to specific participants as their favorites and lobbied hard for their selection. Emily Newton, Coordinator/Director of the squad, characterized it as a difficult decision to make.

"I'm really pleased with the group we selected," Newton said. "It's a beautiful group. I think they're going to be great dancers and perform well for us. There's a lot of emotion and it's always fun to see the girls get emotional in a good way, and what a crowd we had today.

"We had such an amazing turnout with the crowd and I'm really happy. They're so supportive of the girls on the team and it's always impressive to hear everybody screaming for their daughter or sister or girlfriend, and then to have them be selected right there in front of them, where they can see them get excited and come on stage almost in tears, it's great."

Returning members of last year's MDC

Veterans returning after hiatus

Those of you who watched the NFL Network's "Making the Squad" series on the Dolphins Cheerleaders will recognize Mia "Big Booty Trudy" Lawrence. She made the team - go Mia! That is so awesome.

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