Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cardinals Cheerleaders Ready for Big Day 

Posted by James at 5:39 PM ET

By Megan Finnerty
The Arizona Republic
The 28 women on the Arizona Cardinals cheerleading team are about to perform for their largest audience yet, but they've had less time than ever to prepare.

The women found out when the rest of the world did, two weeks ago, that their team was going to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. And that's when they also found out they'd need to put together dance routines for five new songs, all chosen by the NFL, for the game.

 Cardinals Cheerleaders

They had two weeks to adapt their best routines to No Doubt's Hey Baby and the Beatles' I Saw Her Standing Ther, among other songs. Two weeks to make travel arrangements, set up personal appearances, and to figure out how to adjust a beauty regimen, tailored to Arizona's dry heat, to Florida's humidity.

"All that volume you see up on the girls up there, I'd like to take some credit for that," said rookie squad member Alix, a freckled redhead from Peoria.

For security reasons, the Cardinals organization does not give out the cheerleaders' full names.

Alex is the team's best back comber, best hair teaser, best volume builder. And this is a clutch skill in a tropical city.

It's especially important to a group of women who, when not day jobbing as engineers, mothers, teachers and students, are judged by how they look.

 Cardinals Cheerleaders

And they look great.

They looked great even when just touring Raymond James Stadium on Friday afternoon to make sure they knew where the locker room was, knew where to line up for the Cardinals' pregame introductions and knew what else to expect on Sunday.

Team captain Marcie, an electrical engineer at Intel, said the whole team is thrilled to be part of this historic moment, the Cardinals' first trip to the Super Bowl.

She's also thrilled that she'll be representing the team at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii the following week.

"It's almost overwhelming," she said. "We're just so proud to be part of this."

Check out the Arizona Republic's Cardinals Cheerleader Gallery here.

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