Wednesday, May 28, 2008
By Carol Johnson
Watching from her seat in the RCA Dome, Colts fan Erica Hall watched the Colts Cheerleaders and knew that was something she wanted to do someday.
Someday is now.
Hall, a former Bedford resident, is one of the newest members of the Colts cheerleading squad, which, along with the Colts, will open the 2008 season in the new Lucas Oil Stadium.
“This whole experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hall said. “To be an NFL Cheerleader and then in a new stadium … it is so amazing.”
About 300 women auditioned; 40 were chosen.
Hall, a dental hygienist, graduated from Bedford North Lawrence High School in 2003. She moved to Indianapolis to attend IUPUI and the IU School of Dentistry to study dental hygiene.
She and her husband Baron, who married in 2007, have been Colts season ticket holders for the past three years. This season, he’ll watch the game and Erica from his seat.
“We’re both big fans,” she said. “Baron’s been really supportive of me doing this. This takes a lot of time and he’s OK with that.”
Hall, who cheered in high school, said being an NFL Cheerleader is nothing like cheering in high school or college.
“So far, it’s totally different,” she said. “They told us, if you had high school or college experience to just throw that out and relearn being an NFL Cheerleader. In high school and college there is lots of gymnastics. In the NFL, you don’t do that. It’s a lot of dancing and we do a lot of appearances in the community.”
Hall, 23, didn’t sign many autographs when she cheered at BNL, but she and the other cheerleaders were told that will definitely change. One of Hall’s first public appearances as a Colts Cheerleader will be at Lawrence County’s Safe Night June 14.
Practices started a few weeks ago. Hall described them as fun, but intense. The Colts conducted pre-audition clinics for the cheer prospects, and final voting for the cheerleaders was done by fans online. Hall said she auditioned last year and made it to the finals before being cut, so she was thrilled she made the squad this year.
She said she has received lots of support from her parents, Andrea and Sara Farmer, and Baron’s parents, Kim and Dan Hall.
“Our families are so excited. My mom calls me after every practice. My mom, dad, brother and mother in-law got to watch part of the auditions,” she said.
NFL Cheerleaders receive compensation, and cheerleaders don’t have much contact with the players.
“There’s not much contact with the players at all. That is a no-tolerance rule. It’s to keep it a very professional atmosphere,” she said.
Hall said she’s looking forward to the first game and to a winning season.
“We’re always Super Bowl contenders. It’s an amazing team and I think they have a chance to make the Super Bowl again.”