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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

'It's a dream come true' JMB graduate cheers for Eagles 

Posted by Sasha at 7:06 PM ET

By Ben Penserga, Staff Writer
Delmarva Now
May 5, 2008

SALISBURY -- If you break it down, Madeline Kane travels way too much to get to work.

Kane's trek from Salisbury to Philadelphia takes about 150 miles and close to three hours one way to complete. The 21-year-old James M. Bennett High School graduate usually has to report four hours before her regular Sunday (and occasional Monday) shifts in the fall and winter.

It may seem like a lot for a part-time job, but for a chance to be a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader, Kane wouldn't have it any other way.

After making the squad for the second year in a row -- which included Best Dancer Award and highest overall audition score -- Kane will travel to the Dominican Republic this weekend to shoot the newest team cheerleadering calendar. Next month she will travel to Iraq and other parts of the Middle East to visit U.S. military personnel.

"It's all been a dream come true," Kane said.

"You should try out"

A lifelong dancer, Kane was at James Madison University looking for a new venue to push herself.

"I just wanted to see if I could step it up another level, so I started looking at professional teams to try out for," she said. "And since my little sister is a big Eagles fan, she was like, 'You should try out.' "

At first, Kane's mother, Sarah, was not sure what to think about the whole situation.

"Yes, I was surprised when Madeline told me she was trying out for NFL Cheerleadering," Sarah Kane said. "She never cheered in school, but has always danced. But I have always encouraged my girls to pursue their passions."

So on March 24, 2007, Madeline Kane arrived at her first cheerleadering tryouts.

As the pool of about 500 candidates began to thin, Madeline Kane found herself sticking around.

"I just kept making it and making it," she said.

Once she made the team, she was whisked off to Mexico for a calendar shoot. What followed was a season of games, public appearances for charities and traveling.

"People think it's just going out to cheer, but there's a lot to it -- making appearances, traveling to different places ... there's a lot," she said.

That first year, Madeline was on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, modeled for and met designer Nicole Miller, was to help with the Breast Cancer prevention campaign with Thomas Jefferson Hospital and was picked for the billboard on I-95 in Philly.

Drive, Eagles, Drive

Going into her second year as Eagles cheerleader, Madeline Kane knows what to expect being part of a squad of about 38 women.

The team practices twice a week throughout the year. During the football season, Kane will arrive four hours before game time to rehearse, get make-up and hair done and mingle with fans.

That first time during that first game is seared in Kane's memory.

"I've never danced in front of that huge of a crowd before," she said. "But my first game was an unforgettable experience."

And as the season went on, Kane's family completely warmed to the idea as she became a source of pride among her loved ones.

"We are proud of Madeline, that she has found a way to pursue her love of dance and work with a purpose," Sarah Kane said.

In the fall, Madeline's route to her part-time job will change. There will be no more Salisbury to Philly drives as she will attend school in New York City.

Though her address will change, people can expect to see Madeline Kane on the sidelines, at least for one more season.

"Once I get a job, maybe that'll be it, but until then I'll keep doing it," she said. "It's been a great experience."

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