Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By Dori O'Neal
[Seattle Sea Gals]
Professional Football Cheerleaders seem to have a pretty sweet job.
They have one of the best views of the games, and all they have to do is look gorgeous and know some fancy dance moves, right? Wrong.
"It's a much harder job than you might think," said Andrea, a 27-year-old cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks.
Andrea and fellow cheer squad member Natalie, who asked that their last names not be used for privacy's sake, were in town Sunday signing autographs at The Arc of Tri-Cities fundraising spaghetti feed. The dinner, sponsored by the Riverton Retirement and Assisted Living Community, raised about $475 for The Arc.
Christopher Emery of Kennewick has a poster signed Sunday by Seagals Natalie, left, and Andrea, both Tri-City natives, at a spaghetti feed put on by Riverton Retirement and Assisted Living Community in Richland. The event raised money for The Arc of Tri-Cities' new 14,000-square-foot facility.
"We're advised to only give out our first names when doing promotional work," Andrea said. The reason for that is simple, she added. Professional Cheerleaders can be magnets for unsavory stalker types.
As for all that hard work cheerleaders must endure, it's not as glamorous a job as one might think, Natalie said.
"We have about 30 to 40 new routines we have to learn each season," she said. And they have to know dive into anyone of those routines on a dime and do it perfectly, she added.
"It's why we have to try out every year, no matter how long you've been on the team," Natalie said.
Natalie graduated from Southridge High School in 2004 and has been a Seagal for two years. Andrea is a 1999 Kennewick High grad and is in her third year with the squad.
The average life span of a Professional Cheerleader is about four years, the women said. They do get paid an hourly wage when they perform at home games, rehearse or are sent out on promotional gigs. But they still have to work at other jobs when they're not cheering to make ends meet.
"I just got back last week from a promotional trip to Mexico where (the NFL) is attempting to expand its fan base to," Natalie said.
Andrea is a computer buyer at the University of Washington and Natalie teaches gymnastics part time. Both live in the King County area.
Andrea and Natalie love the work they do regardless of the grueling pace simply because they love to dance. Each were on their high school cheer squads, and danced in various divisions of the national champion dance team, Eastern Washington Elite, which is based in the Tri-Cities.
"You definitely have to be committed to dancing if you want to make a professional cheer team," Andrea said. And being supportive to your team is a must.
[Seattle Sea Gals]