By Alex Lloyd Gross
You see them on the side lines of NFL games. Every team has one. We’re talking about the cheer leading squad. At times the ladies on the squad get more attention than some of the players do. “It’s a part time job within the Eagles organization” said Barbra Zaun, head of the squad.
Every NFL team has open call auditions. The Eagles had theirs this weekend, inside the suite level at Lincoln Financial Field. For one day, the ladies that try out don’t care about the status of the team. Whether McNabb should go or start is as far from the minds from the cheerleader hopefuls as doing calculus. Micheal Vick, a PR person’s nightmare is not even on the agenda.
The agenda for the 330 females is desperately trying to pick up and learn a short dance routine from Suzy Zucker, the choreographer for the team. “You have to have “IT”, said Zucker. I cannot teach you how to have “IT” or what “IT” is, but I can show you how do dance. It’s okay to make an error. Even the best NBA player can miss a foul shot. I’m not looking for perfection out there”.
The ladies lined up and were shown the movements by several of the squad members. They were coached by Zucker. Then they were led by Zaun into a smaller room where they were told how to walk into the audition room. They would do the routine twice, in front of two panels of judges.
There were currently eight spots open, from squad veterans to have chosen not to come back. Then, each member of the cheer leading squad must re audition to stay on the current squad. So the dichotomy is that the squad members could actually help the girls that would replace them on the squad.
Prior to auditioning, girls spent about an hour trying to track down a cheerleader to grade their routine. All of the current cheerleaders that were there were happy to provide guidance. Other girls did their hair and makeup, to look good in front of the judges.
At the first cut, “We are looking for fitness, and personality “Zaun said With that being said, the competition was steep. Almost every one that showed up to try out met those qualifications. The judges would have a hard time picking what they thought would be the best addition to the squad.
After the audition, there was nothing to do but wait. Some of the ladies texted their friends, other read books, or formed little groups to talk or took a nap.
Those fortunate to get called still have a long way to go. It’s a very demanding part time job. A cheerleader must do public appearances, train , travel, maybe do a a calendar shoot and also be on the field in front of 67000 plus people for NFL games.
Most of the girls trying out have no idea what they got themselves into if they are selected. It’s a demanding job, that gives a lifetime of experience in a few short months.