Saturday, July 19, 2008
by Jeff Chaney
The Grand Rapids Press
The Grand Rapids Press
Kristine Albert is excited about her first trip to New Orleans, but wishes the Grand Rapids Rampage were joining her.
Albert, a member of the Rampage's Rage Dance Team, was voted on by the fans to join 16 other dancers from each of the Arena Football League teams to take part ArenaBowl XXII week, which will culminate by performing during the game between the Philadelphia Soul and San Jose SaberCats.
The Rampage just missed playing in the game, losing to San Jose on Saturday, 81-55, in the AFL American Conference championship game.
"I got an e-mail for the Rampage office, who heard from the league," Albert said. "I was really excited to make it. I would have been excited for any of the other girls on the team to make it, but I'm excited to be going in my first year I'm eligible to go."
Albert, who is a 2004 Greenville High School graduate and has been dancing with the Rage for three years, is eligible this year because she turned 21 years of age. That is the minimum age to be part of the team.
"I've never been to New Orleans, so I'm excited for the trip," said Albert, who has been dancing for 17 years. "I know there are a lot of appearances we have to make, and it is work down there. I heard from (fellow Rage dancer Keri Larsen) who went last year (to New Orleans to ArenaBowl XXI), is that it is a lot of hard work. I've gotten an e-mail from the coordinator of the dream team, and she sent and itinerary and there are a lot of appearances and practices. And we also perform for the game."
Larsen says that Albert will enjoy the five days she is in New Orleans, but also warned her that it is tough.
"It's not all fun and games," said Larsen, who has been on the Rage for six years. "It is an amazing experience, but there is so much work when you are down there."
First and foremost is the dancing.
"You basically learn five different routines, and they send them to you on a DVD, so you only have two weeks to learn all the routines," said Larsen, who works for St. Mary's Healthcare. "Then you go down and put that all together with the team."
Then there are the appearances.
"Some of the mornings we would be up as early 4 a.m. and we would have radio and television interviews, Larsen said. "There are a lot of different public appearances. One of the cool things is that we went to a playground rebuild because the one there was gone because of Hurricane Katrina. I'm not sure what Kristine will do, but they'll keep her busy. She'll be busy from 6 a.m. to midnight every night. It is so much work, but it was such an amazing experience."
Albert is ready.
"I am excited to go, but it would have been nice to see the Rampage play," said Albert, who is in her last year of studying advertising at Grand Valley. "So I'm going to have to represent."