Jacci’s Blog – Eskimo Cheer Team
Since the final tryouts at the beginning of March I have been eagerly waiting for my first public performance as a member of this talented and inspiring team. I was, of course, a little nervous walking up to the front doors of The Ranch at five o’ clock that day. My hands were clammy, my mouth was dry, and my usual light-footed gait had been replaced by a clumsy struggle to place one foot in front of the other. From the moment I opened the door, however, the nerves slowly started to diminish.
Looking around and seeing the team clad in Eskimo green and gold, I began to remember how much we had prepared for this night as a team. Just the proceeding evening we had a three-hour dress rehearsal – time spent adjusting formations to the dance floor, going over body placements, making sure we were uniform and reiterating things we needed to remember while performing. Many of our May practices were spent going over our group routines making sure they were polished and performance ready. Dancers and stunters alike met frequently with their individual groups to learn and create choreography for their specific routines as well. Even when we were not physically practicing we had our performances in mind — Often going through them while stuck in traffic, or when one of the songs came on the radio. We were prepared. The veterans did well at helping us rookies get rid of our butterflies by staying calm and offering words of encouragement. They exuded a cool confidence that helped us relax and feel self-assured.
Just after nine o’ clock my group – the first of the small group performances - walked down onto the dance floor. Seeing the smiling faces of friends, family, and Edmontonians and the energy felt from their enormous welcome restored my normal gait and I was now ready to give it my all. The marvellous energy, clapping and cheering continued straight through until the final group number. After the confetti canons were fired and the team ended with an Eskimo cheer the butterflies were completely forgotten and a tremendous pride had settled in my heart: A pride in our team, in the whole Eskimo family, and the larger Edmonton community that create this City of Champions.
The support received from Edmontonians participation in our unveiling party is greatly appreciated by all team members. The proceeds from the ticket sales, card sales, and silent auction will help send us to Toronto for the 100th Grey Cup and without your support our participation in this CFL milestone would not occur. I am so grateful to have been a part of the Unveiling and cannot wait to feel that same enthralling energy of the Eskimo fans when I run out onto the field with the Cheer Team for my first game on June 21st. I hope to see you there!