Friday, October 17, 2008

Raiderettes and Warrior Girls Make Their Dancing with the Stars Picks 

Posted by James at 11:00 AM ET

Mid-west Dave went Left Coast on us this past weekend and caught up the the Golden State Warrior Girls and the Oakland Raiderettes:

This past weekend, Pier 39 in San Francisco was crowded with visitors coming to see Fleet Week activities, including air shows featuring the remarkable Blue Angels. Although poised to look skyward, many people were distracted when they encountered Raiderettes signing autographs and posing for photos, appearing Friday through Sunday in the NFL Shop. The Blue Angels are great, but the breathtaking angels of Raider Nation are also well known for exciting moves and cohesive choreography. In addition to Raiderettes, the neighboring Warrior Girls were also making appearances during the weekend. My trip to the Bay Area was greatly assisted by blog contributor Rex, who gave me cheerleader appearance info and 49er game advice to help me plan my trip. It was great to meet Rex at Pier 39 and I really appreciate his help!

Itza and Nicole M.

I first arrived at Pier 39 Friday afternoon and met Raiderettes Itza and Nicole M. Itza is a rookie who I hope to see on the sidelines soon, and Nicole M is a stunning, tall, graceful dancer that I was able to see perform last season.

Besides being very accommodating for photos, I was armed with my blog questions of the week for the Raiderettes: Q1: Who will win this season's Dancing with the Stars and Q2: If you were a dancer in Dancing with the Stars which Raiders player would you want as your partner to give you the best chance to win?

Itza and Nicole M.

Itza went with Brooke Burke as her prediction and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha as her hypothetical partner, who ended up being a popular pick. Nicole M thinks Cloris Leachman should win based on her personality, although doubts she actually will win, and picked JaMarcus Russell as a dance partner, figuring she needs a tall partner to provide a good match for her height.

Britany and Nicole J.

Then I was off to Sunvalley Mall in Concord for a Friday night appearance by rookie Brittany and veteran Nicole J at the Raider Image Store. Nicole M agreed with Itza's picks of Brooke and Nnamdi. Brittany went with former Raider Warren Sapp as her pick and agreed with Nnamdi as an optimal partner.

I asked Brittany if she was nervous prior to her first game as a Raiderette, and she said initially she was, but she is much more comfortable now and credited Nicole, who stands right next to her on the field, for helping her comfort level.

Cristina and Alexis

I kicked off Saturday with a drive to Costco in San Leandro where Warrior Girls were scheduled to appear. I met Cristina and Alexis, who also were kind enough to answer my blog question, but I asked for the best possible Warrior rather than Raider as partner.

Alexis and Cristina said that their practice schedule conflicts with Dancing with the Stars, so they have not followed this season, but they both love Brooke Burke so they went with her as their pick. Alexis had just met Corey Magette and his wife, and thought they were amazing people, so she went with Corey. Cristina went with Stephen Jackson, and I think he would be must see TV if he was a contestant.

Oakland Raiderettes
Liz and Kathleen

Then I went back to Pier 39, where Kathleen and Liz were representing the Raiderettes. I met Kathleen at an appearance last year, and since then she was named last season's Rookie of the Year. Just my opinion, but I think Kathleen would be a contender for Best Hair in any ratings. As part of her Rookie award, she received a GPS with a commemorative plaque, since they go to so many appearances all over the region.

I also learned that Kathleen is close friends with Warrior Girl Alexis, who I had just met. Kathleen picked Warren Sapp as her choice to win, but went with the unique pick of Sebastian Janikowski as her dance partner. Perhaps those leg kicks are a product of extensive Polish folk dancing. The immensely friendly and personable Liz, a big fan of this season's "Dancing," chose Brooke Burke or Warren Sapp, who she thought was surprisingly good, as joint picks, and rookie running back Darren McFadden for her optimal partner (due to his quickness and agility).

Liz and Kathleen

One cute scene was a young man pacing back and forth, trying to get up the nerve to talk to the Raiderettes (been there, done that), and eventually he asked me the time, and when I said 3 pm (the time they were leaving), he exclaimed "Shoot!!" He went up to Kathleen and Liz with two small pieces of paper, and asked if they would give autographs even though he did not have the money for a calendar. Both Raiderettes said of course they would, and gladly signed the sheets, making him the happiest young man this side of the Rockies

Shanika and Meena

The next set of Raiderettes was Sharika and Meena. Sharika chose Warren Sapp as winner and Nnamdi Asomugha as her hypothetical partner, whereas Meena went with Brooke Burke and Johnny Lee Higgins. Meena thought his return moves and flips would translate to dance floor potential. Meena said she has not been following Dancing with the Stars this season, but was an active watcher and voter last time, because her husband's family is friends with Kristy Yamaguchi's family.

[Golden State Warrior Girls]

[Oakland Raiderettes]

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