Sunday, April 06, 2008

Argos welcome seven York cheerleaders 

Posted by Sasha at 6:21 PM ET

Written by Andrew Fletcher, Recruitment Manager
Excalibur Magazine
02 April 2008

Seven York women have made the cheerleading squad that supports Toronto’s CFL team, the Toronto Argonauts. The cheerleaders survived the final tryouts that rounded 58 hopefuls down to the squad’s 36.

The final auditions took place at the Diesel Playhouse in Toronto on March 30. In order to make the team, the cheerleading hopefuls had to impress a panel of judges that ranged from radio hosts to Argos management officers.

“First off, of course we look for beauty [...] and skills, which is also extremely important, and personality,” said Rudy Blair, an announcer from 680News, on the requirements of being an Argos cheerleader.

“When you’re up in the audience and cheering on the team and stuff and you see when these ladies come out onto the field, they get you going and they get you excited,” he added.

The final test for the potential teammates asked the cheerleaders to face off in two segments. First, they had to answer a question from the judges, which then led into a 30-second routine.

“I think personality goes a long way, and the organization does so much for the community,” said Devo Brown, an announcer from Flow 93.5 FM.

“If your heart is not in it, then you don’t want that kind of person on the squad.”
Shannon, a veteran from the York squad and a graduate student in the English program, spoke to Excalibur about her feelings on making the team.

“We know that we have a great team with a lot of talented and beautiful girls and that is exciting,” she said.

“I personally enjoy doing charity work the most, but game day is just as amazing because I love football and I’ve watched it my entire life and practising with these girls has become like a big family.”

One of the key elements that the girls needed to have was a background in dancing, cheer or gymnastics.

“I did dance on the York dance team for two years during my first two years of undergrad, but with the Argos they are a big community team and I enjoy that aspect of it,” said Shannon.

Ten York women made it to the finals, but it was five veteran cheerleaders and two rookies that made the final cut.

“This is really great and exciting and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really happy,” said one rookie, Kaitlyn, a second-year psychology major at York.

The Argonauts cheerleading squad is not just responsible for cheering on the team games. They often make several charity appearances throughout the year.
Shannon also reflected on why she chose to join the team again this year and what it’s done for her career.

“For me this is a personal interest and I’ve danced my entire life, and it kind of reflects my career as I’m taking some public relations as a post-grad, so the media work that I get asked to do is definitely in my line of work,” said Shannon. “Not only do we do physical training, but we do a lot of media training and it’s good but lots of work.”

The Toronto Argonauts have been around since 1873 and has gone on to win the Grey Cup 15 times, with its last triumph in 2004.

“I love the organization and I’ve grown up on football and it’s pretty much in my blood and I decided to come back for another year and give it another shot,” said Shannon.

The Argonauts led the Eastern Division with a 11-7 record during the 2007 season and will play its first season game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 27. The first home game with new cheerleading squad will take place on July 3 against rival Hamilton Tiger Cats.

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