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Am I A Cheerleader?

Jan. 24, 2011, 2010

"Are you the cheerleaders?". We must each hear this question about ten times a game, yet somehow it remains hard to answer. Technically we are not cheerleaders. We have no pompoms and perform no cheers. We don't throw each other in the air every game, nor do we make human pyramids. Really, technically, we are a professional dance team.

However, we do a lot more than just dance. We spend a lot of time during the game helping with other forms of in-game entertainment besides dancing. We help with contests, prize giveaways and more. We hang out and talk with fans and we help get the crowd hyped up at games. All of these things are pretty typically expected from the cheerleaders, so it's no wonder people are confused! Basically since the Toronto Raptors have no cheerleaders per say, we fill that role.

So are we "the cheerleaders"? The answer is: there are no cheerleaders. But i guess we're the closest thing!

So when you ask us if we're the cheerleaders and we take a while to answer it's probably because we are waging an internal debate ourselves. Some of us don't feel the need to correct you and simply say yes. Others don't like to be associated with the term 'cheerleader' and the stigma that comes with it and won't hesitate to lightly correct you: " yes we're the dancers." But for most of us it depends on the day.

If you've been following our blog at all you may have realized a slight underlying purpose to many of our entries: to break stereotypes. Being the closest thing to cheerleaders the raptors have, we are all very conscious of the ideas that many people have about cheerleaders. Many of our blog entries have shown you just how smart, talented and down-to-earth all the women that I dance with really are, and I couldn't be any more proud to be associated with such a wonderful group of women. But still, as I apply to medical school, filling out forms, autobiographies and writing essays I have been forced to downplay the importance and impact that this job has made in my life. One day, when I am meeting with patients and explaining to them what is going on with their health, I will look back on this job and be thankful for all the things it has taught me.

I have learned to make conversation with virtually anyone and make them feel comfortable and welcome. I have grown and been inspired by the confidence, strength and independence of the women I work with and this will allow me to go for and reach my goals without hesitation.

So tonight when people ask me if we're the cheerleaders I will answer yes. Because even if we were cheerleaders I would be proud to be associated with this team and I don't want anyone to misinterpret any hesitation or correction as embarrassment.

Simply stated, I love my job.

See you on court,