Saturday, January 24, 2009
By Andrew Stark
Fort Mill Times
Fort Mill Times
Linsey Fish has always loved to dance. She started when she was 3 years old and was a cheerleader as a freshman and sophomore and a member of her high school dance team as a junior and senior.
When her older sister, Jordan, came to her with an idea, the two jumped at the chance.
"She saw an ad on-line and I said 'sure, what do we have to lose,?'" Linsey said. "We just went for it and we both ended up advancing farther and eventually got the job."
Linsey and Jordan were selected as members of the Charlotte Bobcats' cheerleading squad. The new Lady Cats were doing what they loved to do and getting paid for it. Although Jordan left the team after last season, Linsey decided to comeback for more.
Linsey, a 2007 graduate of Fort Mill High School, has fond memories of her time as a Yellow Jacket. She was a member of the student council and was named Homecoming Queen as a senior.
"I loved my time there," she said. "The friends that I made along the way and it was awesome to know that you are well-liked. I had no idea that I was going to win [Homecoming Queen] and it came as such a big surprise; But it is an honor to be recognized like that."
The Lady Cats provide entertainment at Time Warner Cable Arena, and put in a lot of work to make sure that all of the dances are timed properly. The team performs new dances at all 41 home games. Practice is typically two times a week and can last for well over two hours. Fish, who is also a college student, thinks that come game days, the hard work is worth it.
"The crowd is great," she said. "You can't get a better crowd than at an NBA game. It is not high school and it is not a college crowd; This is the big leagues and the crowds are great."
Besides the crowd, Fish is building strong relationships with her teammates. Although it is sometimes hard with all of the practice and arriving at the games up to four hours in advance, she enjoys going to work.
"My teammates are awesome, they are a lot of fun to be around and we have a good time together," she said.
Likewise, she has gained the respect of her coaches and teammates. This year she has asserted herself as more of a leader on the team. Choreographer and dance team manager Brandii McCoy said Fish acts like a seasoned veteran, not someone in only her second year.
"She is such a jewel and a blessing to have on the team," McCoy said. "She is really dedicated for us and I don't know if you could ask for anything more than what she brings on a daily basis. She is so energetic and bubbly; She oozes enthusiasm and she is always smiling and in a good mood."
Besides their on-court time, the Lady Cats also do a lot of work in the community. They have many charitable appearances, do volunteer work and other community events throughout the year. Fish said that she and her teammates enjoy getting out in the community almost as much as performing during the games.
"She is so generous with her time, and she does a lot of volunteer work," McCoy said. She does a lot for the community and she balances three intense things really well. A lot of the girls have another job and the Bobcats, but Linsey has school, work and this job and she does a great job at all three."
The team has gained national exposure and has photo galleries on the Bobcats' homepage as well on Web sites for ESPN and "Sports Illustrated."
Fish, who said she wants to continue with the team for at least two more seasons while she finishes college, works three to four nights a week at a local sports bar and hopes to move on to Winthrop University. She has not yet decided on a major.
"I want to stay in the area," Fish said. "My family and friends are here and I like being close to home."
For now, Fish is happy with her job. Although the cheerleaders are not allowed to socialize with the players, she enjoys watching Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin. She said she sees NBA icon Michael Jordan, the team's managing member of basketball operations, but has never spoken with him.
"It is a lot of hard work and very time consuming," Fish said. "You have to keep in top physical shape and get weighed in throughout the year. Anything that you do outside of the job affects it, but it is worth it."