Emily’s Dancer Diary - November 7, 2006

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We made our debut on Friday night, and I have only one word to describe what it was like for me: crazy. It was probably one of the most nerve-wracking and overwhelming experiences of my life. I went to a large, PAC 10 college, so I'm used to dancing in front of large crowds, but Friday night was unlike anything I have ever experienced. During practices at the Garden, I didn't realize how close the seats are to the court. I didn't realize there are still so many people on the court when we go out to dance during time-outs. I didn't realize that every side looks the same so it is difficult to remember which way I'm supposed to face.

Do you want to know what goes through the head of a Celtics Dancer as she is dancing? Perhaps I should qualify that question: Do you want to know what goes through the head of a slightly neurotic Celtics Dancer as she is dancing?

Did I point my toe? Nope. Am I going to make it to my spot? Almost. Run here, kick, run there, and turn. Oh my gosh, I just did a move from another routine. Oh Lordy, I hope Marina didn't notice. Is that guy pointing at me? My hair is stuck to my lip-gloss. Do I fix it, or just let it stick there? Let it stick there; no one will notice, right? Unless CelticVision happens to be on me right now. Run to my next spot. Does my smile look fake? How do I get that "sexy smile" that the other girls seem to have mastered? It's hard enough to try to remember what direction to face, what routine to do, let alone to try to look sexy. And if I have to try, it's probably not going to turn out so well, right? Convinced there couldn't possibly be anyone looking at me at this exact moment, I reach up to my mouth and grab the lock of hair that is sticking to my lip-gloss. Of course, I just manage to drag my hair along my face, smearing my hot pink lip-gloss across my cheek. Lovely. Sexy is out the window for tonight.

I hit my last pose as our music stops. I think I hear people clapping and yelling. This is good. Maybe people like us. We hold one, two, three. I jump up and wave as we run off the court. I feel a little silly waving at the crowd since no one waved at me first. But I guess that is what you do when you run off a court. Oh boy, I'm running in a different direction than the other girls. Realizing it too late, I continue and find myself nose to elbow with a big man in a Pistons jersey. Yep, I think I just might be in the wrong tunnel. Hoping the security men in black coats and stern expressions take pity on me, I fluff my hair, and sweetly ask which way to go. They aren't amused and I manage to reinforce every dumb blonde/cheerleader stereotype out there. After they begrudgingly send me in the right direction, I find the other girls back in our locker room and collapse into a chair to recover before the next time-out.

We are all on a high because it sounded like the crowd liked us. We know how hard we have practiced and how much true dance talent there is on our team, but we didn't know if it would translate to the Celtics fans. As we re-primp in front of our 21 mirrors, we think, "maybe so." And it's a really good feeling.

But there is no time to relax and enjoy the rush of excitement and relief of finishing our first number. Girls are scurrying around, getting ready for the Foxwoods promotion. "Which way do we hold the banner again?" "Do I have enough lip-stick on?" can be heard from the other side of the room. My side is practicing our next routine. I, of course, ask three girls to reiterate which direction we face and which tunnel we run off through. I graduated from a top university, successfully juggle a full-time job, graduate school applications and dancing for the Celtics, and I still can't manage to remember things like that.

Even in the locker room and hallways behind the stands, cameras are on us at all times. They are filming for the documentary on us that is airing on NBA TV. One cameraman asks me what it is like waiting in the tunnel before we go out to dance. I can't for the life of me remember how I answered, but I remember muttering under my breath, "Oh, I hope they edit out that clip." Just as he finishes interviewing me, a man in a floor seat hands me a program and asks me to autograph next to my picture. I sign my first name and put a smiley face next to it. I'm not quite sure why I thought it would be nice to include a smiley face, since I'm not really a smiley face kind of gal, but I'm pretty sure he isn't analyzing it as much as I am. The buzzer rings and out we run and hit our opening pose.

The game is over and the team lost, unfortunately, but we are still excited that our performances went off without a hitch. My parents have flown in from Los Angeles to watch the game, and despite living on my own since age 18, I think to myself that I hope my mom is proud of me. I hope she didn't notice my mistakes. And I have to remind myself: Emily, elections are imminent, wars and genocides are occurring all over the world, and you are worried about your smeared lip-gloss? Okay, the world just might keep on turning even though I've made a few mistakes tonight. But I do make a mental note to buy non-sticky lip-gloss before the next game, and to concentrate a little better when Marina goes over the logistics of game operations.

So, if you see me on the court, will someone please point me in the right direction next time I seem lost? I'd greatly appreciate it. And by game 32, I just might have figured it out.

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