The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders....the name itself brings to each of us images of an American icon - beautiful ladies decked out in blue and white uniforms cheering America's Team on to victory; precision dance routines that require a combination of stamina, flexibility and timing that would leave most of us gasping - yet they smile and dance on.
Or for some, it's the time that we met one of them and she signed an autograph and we spent a few minutes talking...the images differ, but each holds a special place. And today's phenomenon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders is equally special. Everywhere across the country or around the world that any of these young ladies appear thousands of fans congregate looking for the opportunity for a photograph, an autograph, or a few moments to say hello. America's Sweethearts have truly become the darlings of the National Football League. But it didn't start out that way.
Most of the Cheerleaders non-game appearances are done for charity. They have lent their support to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Salvation Army, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, the George Lindsey Celebrity Golf Tournament for Special Olympics, the Association for Hearing Impaired Children, Veterans Administration Hospitals , the March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cancer Society, United Way, Variety Club Telethons, and the Make A Wish Foundation - in addition to their annual visits to numerous nursing homes and children's hospitals.
This unique group of young women has a deep responsibility: they assume a corporate identity, yet they cannot lose sight of themselves as individuals. It is a basic concept of the organization that each person in the stadium or in the audience has a mental picture of their ideal girl - and the squad offers someone for each of them to identify with. As in the past, almost every phase of the American woman is represented: teachers, secretaries, company executives, homemakers, nurses, students, medical technicians, fashion coordinators, accountants, sales and advertising representatives, file clerks, receptionists, cashiers, dental hygienists, flight attendants, etc. Some are single, some are married - several have children. Typically they range in age from 18 to 36, although there is no upper age limit. They are from small towns and big cities. Some have been performing for years with extensive dance backgrounds and some come to the Squad with no training at all, but have the gift of showmanship and the ability to learn.
What they all have in common is the dedication to responsibility and commitment to excellence that being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader requires. They subject themselves to rigorous physical conditioning, an exhaustive year round rehearsal schedule and stringent rules and regulations that govern their part-time life.