Most people would agree that waking up at 3:00am is nothing to be excited about. However, waking up at 3:00am for an Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader means a day full of amazing opportunities and memories. This past weekend, I experienced just that.
In just 24 hours, the Arizona Cardinals show-team flew to Killeen, Texas, signed autographs, rehearsed routines, made friends, put on a two-hour show. It was one of the greatest experiences ever.
As soon as we stepped out of the airport into the misty rain, the excitement began and memories of living in Ft. Hood soon overwhelmed me. Just over a year ago, my husband was stationed at Ft. Hood before being deployed to Iraq. Ft. Hood to me was once a little town with not much to offer, but today, after our show team's performance there, I realized that there exists so much more.
From the airport, we rushed off to the PX where many fans awaited for Cardinal Cheerleader's autographs. We quickly put on our uniforms and greeted the smiling faces awaiting our arrival. Immediately, it was apparent that we were welcomed with open arms. After making a few friends we were off to Palmer's Theater for the show.
As we stood in the wings of the stage, I peeked through the curtains to see all the faces in the audience that waited for us. The butterflies started fluttering in my stomach. Then, the music came on. As we entered onto the stage the yells, screams and smiles from the audience was amazing. It put us at ease and helped us dance our hardest.
Throughout the show, audience members participated in hoola-hoop and dance contests. The children also participated and came on the stage shaking their groove thang even harder than we did. The little boys showed us how to get down and , the girls showed us some of there hippest moves. I have never seen such great spirits amongst such a large group of people.
At the end of the show we were able to give many hugs and take lots of pictures with the children and families. Almost everyone we came in contact with shared his or her appreciation for our coming there. There was non-stop smiling and laughter until the theatre was quiet and empty.
Even though I knew that we had come to put on a show for military families, I do not think that I quite understood who filled the seats of the theatre that night. Palmers Theater filled to almost over capacity with military families and friends of whom many of them were without husbands and dads because they were currently deployed to Iraq. I could relate so much more with them than I had ever thought. Although I had once spent my everyday at Ft. Hood, I never seemed to experience the place quite the same as I did with the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders.
It wasn't until this trip that I was able to grasp on to how rewarding performing for others could be. You never know how much of a gift you have to offer until you see the faces of those you know are going through hard times, appear to be the happiest people on earth. I remember the morning that my husband deployed to Iraq and the sad faces of the families who watched them go. However, by the end of the show these were no sad faces. It seemed that we had given support to the military families in a way that no one else could.
By the end of the day all of our hard work had paid off. We had provided a service that really made a difference in the lives of others. Then, within just 24 we were back on a plane heading home to Phoenix, Arizona, ready to go at it again for all of the many fans that awaited us for the home game on Sunday. I am so proud to say that I am an Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader. We make a statement just within our name and this is experience is one that I will never forget!