Written by Courtney Cook
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach earlier this week when I realized it was now May! For the last three years, I have had stars and pom-poms drawn all around the dates of DCC auditions in my planner. I'll never forget how far away it seemed at first, and within a blink of an eye, May was here! I had been preparing for months and now it was finally time to jump on a plane to Texas.
For those girls auditioning, I sympathize with your emotions leading up to this weekend. For months, you prepare and try to gather all the knowledge you can on what it takes to be a DCC. Your friends don't understand why you are trading social time for workouts and skipping your favorite treats. Trying to focus at work or school gets hard, distracted by deciding what colors to use for your audition outfit or a cute new move for your freestyle. You are trying your best to achieve the "DCC Look" with hair appointments, new make-up, manicures, teeth whitening and spray tans. While managing the fitness and beauty part of auditions, you spend even more time in front of the mirror watching yourself dance to different songs to prepare for freestyle.
If you are doing like I did, traveling from out of state, you have an added list of to-dos and expenses. After booking flights and finding hotel rooms, there is no option of "chickening out" and changing your mind. You make arrangements with teachers and work, explaining you need just a little time off to chase your dream.
Many people were shocked I was really going for this farfetched dream that I had talked about for years. Sharing my plans came with question after question about auditions from my friends and family. The DCC audition process is somewhat complicated and confusing to others. I couldn't count how many times I explained that I didn't really know if I'd be going back to Texas for the next round, or how long I would stay after that if I was chosen for Training Camp. This created a fine line for me, trying to have confidence in myself and think positive, while I could only hope for the best.
I always dreamed of being a DCC like I had seen on the sidelines of games, CMT, or videos and pictures on the internet. I especially looked up to Tobie Percival, a beautiful DCC from Utah. Fortunately, she was sweet enough to give me very valuable audition advice. I also did a lot of research on my own, studying articles from the DCC website and watching the CMT TV show. I learned how important it was to come into auditions believing in yourself. I surrounded myself with inspiring quotes and books. My mental preparation was hands-down the most important part of the process for me. I was committed to creating a positive energy in my life to help me reach my goals. I visualized myself dancing in the advancing rounds of auditions, all the way to wearing boots on the field, with a bright smile reflecting my love for dancing and performing.
Walking up to Cowboys Stadium, that humid Saturday morning, my confidence came from knowing I had done everything I could to be the best candidate I could be. I was completely dedicated to putting the best version of myself in front of Kelli and Judy as a DCC hopeful. It took more sweat, tears and commitment than I ever knew I was capable of, but that feeling was worth every bit of preparation I had done. With this peace of mind, I was able to focus on how incredible the journey was. I'm not only a DCC fan but a true Cowboys fan also, and this being my first visit to Cowboys Stadium, I was mesmerized.
I recall feeling happy all day long, in love with the stadium. My desire to cheer on that field was amplified even more. I was able to make friends with girls who did not make the team and some who did, one friend even became my future roommate, Colleen! Fellow DCC Emma jokes about how we became friends during auditions over the chocolate I shared with her wrapped with an inspiring message. They were such a hit, its now audition tradition for me to bring my mom's DCC Good Luck bucket with pink and blue treats to share with new friends.
It's no secret that from the long line of ladies leading into the stadium on May 5 to the squad that takes the sidelines on August 25, the odds are very slim. But you wouldn't walk in those doors if you didn't have belief in yourself, so just keep it up! Remember that every girl sitting in those chairs feels exactly as you do, so try to be the fun, happy, positive new friend that you would appreciate having around, too.
Having gone through DCC prelims and semis twice, my advice would be to not compare yourself, but BE YOURSELF! To all you girls out there coming out to give it another shot, and those that might not make it this first time, being a DCC is an enormous opportunity that is preceded with gigantic effort. If your heart is in it, don't give up!
My heart goes out to all the DCC hopefuls this weekend. By auditioning you will answer what could be one of the biggest "what if?" questions of your life, and that is something you will never regret. Crazy as it sounds, all these months of preparation and work come down to only a short moment to make an impression. This is your opportunity to express what you love doing and have fun! After all, you are auditioning to be a cheerleader, and that is all about creating excitement!
Congratulations on having the courage to walk up to Cowboys Stadium, making yourself vulnerable to the judges, and national television, to chase your dreams. At this point you have done all you can to prepare, it's time relax and let your light shine!