Monday, February 02, 2009
From Peckville to Philadelphia, Amy Mecca’s love of cheerleading has never diminished.
By Stacy Brown, Staff Writer
February 1, 2009
Now, the area native is going to Hawaii, where she’ll represent the Philadelphia Eagles as a cheerleader in this year’s National Football League Pro Bowl.
“It was announced that I was selected to the Pro Bowl during the last home game of the season on Dec. 28 when we were playing the Dallas Cowboys,” Ms. Mecca said. “It was such a big surprise. I was shocked.”
Ms. Mecca will join 25 other NFL cheerleaders on the sidelines at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu a week from today in cheering on the best players in football in the league’s annual post-season all-star game.
The cheerleaders are scheduled to arrive right after today’s Super Bowl and spend all week preparing for the Pro Bowl. They are scheduled to make appearances on behalf of the NFL and serve at various charitable functions on the island.
Ms. Mecca, who was a cheerleader for the Valley View Bulldogs and the Valley View High School Cougars, has graced the sidelines as an Eagles cheerleader for five years. Prior to the 2008 season, she was named captain of the squad.
Ms. Mecca also traveled to Los Angeles to represent the Eagles cheerleaders in both Maxim magazine and Muscle & Fitness magazine. Ms. Mecca called both photo shoots an honor and said she was thrilled to have worked with some of the best photographers in the world.
The honors have continued for Ms. Mecca, 25, as she was picked to grace the cover of the Eagles 2008-2009 calendar, something her father, Anthony Mecca, said initially made him nervous.
“I thought it was going to be Amy and the girls clad in just lingerie, but I said, ‘Thank God’ it was just a swimsuit issue,” said Mr. Mecca, who still resides in Peckville with his wife, Ann Marie.
The calendar was dubbed “Eco-Sexy” as the cheerleading team produced an environmentally friendly calendar that was printed on recycled paper. Ms. Mecca and the rest of the squad sported bikinis made of recycled plastic soda bottles and earrings and bracelets made from glass, CDs and cable wire.
The women also used eco-friendly makeup and all-natural hair products to polish their looks.
A Drexel University graduate, Ms. Mecca works full time as a registered nurse specializing in orthopedic surgery. She works in the operating room at Methodist Hospital, a short walk from the Eagles’ home, Lincoln Financial Field.
“Patients recognize me and they’re happy to have me,” she said, adding that co-workers also frequently pepper her with questions and comments about her Sunday job.
“It’s kind of funny seeing the reaction of our patients,” she said. “They think it is great and everyone has something to say. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t bring up something to do with the Eagles.”
Ms. Mecca’s work as a nurse is further proof that life as a cheerleader isn’t all pompoms, cheers and catchy dance numbers, she said.
“It’s not all glamour. There’s the audition process that runs for a month and we have to go through it every year,” she said. “The process starts with 500 girls and they eventually cut it down to 38. There are practices that run three to four hours twice a week and it’s intense. Not all fun and games and we have to stay in really good shape and have good conditioning.”
The process is grueling, but worth it, Ms. Mecca said, adding that when there are no practices or games scheduled, cheerleaders must still make appearances in the community on behalf of the Eagles organization.
“I don’t even have time to read a book,” Ms. Mecca said.
A dancer since the age of 3, Ms. Mecca said she has always wanted to be a professional football cheerleader. While attending Drexel, Ms. Mecca said she realized the school did not have a football team. She said she had no choice but to immediately try out for the Eagles because she was desperate to cheer.
“I never really thought this would happen,” Ms. Mecca said. “But, I remember being a little girl and watching sports and all I would do is zoom in on the cheerleaders. I was always amazed at what they did and I consistently pictured myself as a cheerleader. This is a dream come true.”
What has made the job as well as the move to Philadelphia from Peckville easier is the women she cheers with each week, Ms. Mecca said.
“Growing up in the Scranton area, obviously it’s no surprise that I love to ski but I don’t get the opportunity to do it,” she said. “I try to have a normal social life for people my age and I’m very close to a lot of the other Eagles cheerleaders. On weekends, we get together and have dinner and when the team is away, we get together and watch the games and cheer the Eagles on.”
Obviously, Ms. Mecca said, Peckville and Philadelphia are very different towns.
“Philly is crazy, noisy and there is lots of traffic and excitement,” she said. “It’s very busy here in Philadelphia and I love the city lifestyle. However, it’s great to go home to Peckville and visit and relax.”
Ms. Mecca regularly speaks with her parents and sister, Julie Scagliotti, so as not to miss home too much, she said. The family also attends as many Eagles games in Philadelphia as possible to support Ms. Meccas, she said.
With the Eagles being eliminated from Super Bowl contention, Ms. Mecca said she’s looking forward to next season, but is eager to participate in the Pro Bowl.
“I am looking forward to meeting the other cheerleaders from around the league,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning from their talents and abilities, and being able to share some of the knowledge and experiences that I gain in Hawaii with my current teammates.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.orgMeet Amy Mecca
Home: Born and raised in Peckville and now lives in Philadelphia
Family: Parents are Anthony and Ann Marie Mecca; sister, Julie Scagliotti
Occupation: Registered nurse, Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader
Favorite Eagle: Brian Dawkins
Favorite Food: Grandmother’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs
Favorite vacation spot: “Anywhere with sun and sand.”
Details: Ms. Mecca plays piano and the drums and loves her jobs as a nurse and cheerleader. She loves to ski and enjoys having dinner and watching football with her fellow cheerleaders. She will represent the Eagles cheerleading squad in this year’s Pro Bowl to be held in Hawaii. A dancer since the age of 3, Ms. Mecca was once a cheerleader for the Valley View Bulldogs and the Valley View Cougars
Quote: “Eagles fans are the most dedicated fans in the NFL. They are crazy, die-hard supporters and their energy is like no other fan in the entire league.”