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KaShara's DCC Pro Bowl Blog: Days 5 & 6
Follow Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader KaShara as she shares some of her experiences from the 2018 Pro Bowl week in Orlando, Florida. Read
Day 1: Arrival & Animal Print
Upon arrival in Orlando, I was quickly greeted by friendly smiles and sunshine. After a few more Cheerleaders arrived, we were shuttled off to our hotel. We got to check out the Safari that we were to call home for the next week. Giraffes, zebras and even a couple of African cows that resembled a Texas Longhorn grazed outside of our balconies! Once all of my new teammates had made it to the hotel, we had a quick meet up. Animal print pajamas and animal onesies were the required attire. Definitely fitting for our first night in this amazing resort. We introduced ourselves and exchanged our secret sister gifts and then were off to get ready for our first day of this busy week. With a 6:50 a.m. report time, we've got a jam packed day ahead full of our team photo shoot, a tree planting, and two rehearsals. This week is already off to a great start and I know it will only get better with these girls around!
Day 2: Team Photo & Two-a-days!
It's an early start here in Orlando, only because there is so much to squeeze into just a few days leading up to the game. As we begin to load the vans around 7 AM, the rain is coming down and so is the teased hair we all worked so hard on because it's team photo day! One picture with 26 different teams represented will make up our Pro Bowl Cheerleaders 2018 squad photo. We had a quick breakfast with some special introductions from the coordinators. There were some stories shared about the background of the Pro Bowl and the traditions it has, served up with lots of motivation and positivity! My favorite idea of the morning was "To lose my expectations of what I thought this week was going be like, from what I've heard or seen in years before and just be present. Enjoy and appreciate this moment." All the good vibes in the room must've helped bring the sun out because not much longer afterwards, we were setting up for our team photo. Once that was done, a few of us went to a local elementary school for a Pro Bowl kick off Tree Planting Service Project that featured the legendary captains for both the NFC and AFC, Orlando city officials, the Jones High School Football Team and students from the elementary school. The rest of the day was full of performing the choreography we learned for game day, being divided into our 4 groups, and learning our pre-game routine which added up to a total of around 6 hours. All of this practice is going to be worth it when we hit the field this Sunday as different teams performing together as one. We've got our first performance tomorrow at the NFL Skills Challenge and more rehearsal. There's still a lot to prepare for Sunday but after seeing everything come together so well at our first rehearsal, I'm positive that it will be ready by game day. Today was proof that it doesn't matter where you're from or the color of your uniform but that with passion, commitment, and a genuine character something amazing can come together...and you can have fun while doing it.
Day 3: Putting Our Skills to the Test
My alarm goes off, it's 5:00 AM, it's the start of Day 3 and it's back to the grind. Another morning of rehearsals is ahead of us. We begin right away with reviewing our game material and learning the halftime that will performed with a guest artist live on game day. We are finally starting to get our groove together as a team and dance like we've been practicing together for months prior instead of just a few days. Morning practice is wrapped up around noon and it's getting closer to our performance time at the NFL Skills Challenge, a premier event this week held at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. Players from both the NFC and AFC compete in various challenges divided by skills necessary in positions such as Running Backs, Receivers, and Quarterbacks. I cheered on the NFC Team with as much enthusiasm as I would if I were back at AT&T Stadium. We performed several routines and helped rally the fans that were in attendance. It was so awesome to see all the Dallas Cowboys jerseys, shirts, and gear in the stands all the way here in Orlando! Shortly after finishing up, our new squad photo was revealed. I almost got emotional seeing the finished product, it was tangible evidence that this dream is real. We finished our day with a team dinner that involved matching shirts and team logo mouse ears as the attire for the evening; talk about getting in the spirit of Pro Bowl week! I'm amazed at how unique each member of this 2018 Pro Bowl Cheerleading squad is, yet we each share similar qualities. It's a comfortable, supportive atmosphere that rallies around the idea of creating relationships, sharing your gifts, and making memories that last a lifetime and we have done exactly that!
Day 4: Just Getting Started
What a week it has been already? And we are just getting started. A chilly and windy field rehearsal gets us going this morning. It definitely felt good to slip on those white Lucchese boots and step on to the field again. We set and rehearsed our pre game routine and walked through some other staging for the National Anthem and the introduction of the players for the game on Sunday. Finalizing these game day details had me feeling those butterflies I usually get prepping for games back at AT&T Stadium. Today was an extra special because fans were able to come watch our rehearsal. The ESPN Wide World of Sports set up the full NFL Pro Bowl Experience with the NFL Fan Zone Area. This included a quick view of our rehearsal, photos with the Pro Bowl Trophy, Merchandise, Food trucks and games for the entire family! It was incredible to see all the different teams being represented. I loved hearing "How 'Bout Them!" throughout the crowd. Cowboys Nation was in attendance today and I could not have been more excited to meet everyone.
For our last appearance of the day, we were lucky enough to visit with the NFL Flag Football teams that will be competing this weekend for a chance to be the best in the world. The Pro Bowl motto is "Where the best meet the next" and this program does just that! There's so much more happening in the next few days leading up to the game; more rehearsals, more fans and more fun.
Days 5 & 6: It's Game Time!
The days that have came and gone this Pro Bowl week are already missed. How is it already Game Day? There has been so much preparation for this day of celebrating the NFL and the impact it has on future generations. We've had multiple rehearsals in the last two days and an entire field rehearsal including pre game and halftime rehearsal with a very special performer. However, there was a few things that happened that stood out in my mind more than most and that starts with our visit to the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. My line was fortunate enough to get to participate in this opportunity and let me tell you, I was on cloud nine! Each child we met that day was so special. Their families were kind enough to let us visit and share time with them and I honestly learned so much in that small amount of time. Each child was strong, courageous and almost fearless in the face of their adversity. It put this entire week, my entire career, into perspective. My heart was so full and I can only hope I brought those children half of the joy they brought me. The second best experience was performing at Disney Spring's and getting to meet fans. I loved looking out to the crowd and seeing all the Cowboys jerseys and gear! There was one other special Cowboys fan I spotted immediately, our Pro Bowl Representative from this past year and one of the people I look up to most, DCC Jennifer. It was awesome to see that level of support and is even more proof of how this organization builds friendships that last a lifetime. Today's game is going to be something I will forever be grateful to be a part of. This whole experience is something that dreams are made of, the people you meet, the fans you engage with, the tradition, and the impact it has on you. I am ready to take this field with my new team, representing the Dallas Cowboys...it's finally game time! Read