Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Cheer-ful Half-time Show 

Posted by James at 1:51 PM ET

By Kelly Taylor,
Montreal – In 1956, Liane Mills took to the field at Percival Molson Stadium for the first time to cheer on the home team as part of the Alouettes’ original cheerleading corps.

Today, more than half a century later, Mills hit the turf once again in front of a packed house of screaming Montreal football fans as part of the Alouettes’ cheerleader reunion half-time show featuring over 150 cheerleaders from five different decades.

Alouttes Alumni

“It was really fantastic,” said Mills, who cheered from 1956-58. “We cried – we cried a lot. Not all of us are still here, with us. Some have passed away, so it was very emotional.”

The cheerleaders performed in a charming and nostalgic half-time show that illuminated the Montreal Alouettes’ long and storied history and brought together former cheerleaders from all over North America including California, Florida, Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary – some of whom have not seen each other in as long as fifty years.

“Today meant everything to me, everything. It’s a wonderful reunion. The crowd is so amazing, it’s so heartwarming!” said Naomi Goodz, who was a cheerleader in 1959-60.

Each group of cheerleaders did a short routine to songs from the era they cheered in and most had only a day to practice. The crowd, which warmly received the entire show, gave the 50s cheerleaders a standing ovation.

“Life is beautiful, and we have to enjoy it while we can,” said Johanne Jean-Maître, of the 1996 team.

Gina Gauthier from the 80s crew agreed.

“We should do this more often – I think every group should organize their own reunion every five or 10 years because look at how great this is!” Gauthier said.

Each group of cheerleaders wore an Alouettes jersey from the decade she cheered in, with the 80’s girls being among the more raucous of the bunch. In fact, it was members of the 90s team that were most blown away by the high-spirited 80s crew, leading the way as cheers of “Go eighties! Go eighties!” rose up from the crowd.

“It was exhilarating! I mean, how do you describe it?” asked Barbara Macleod, who cheered from 1979-83. “But honestly, it’s like yesterday. Just like yesterday.”

[Montreal Alouttes Cheerleading Team]

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