The first spotlight of the 2012 season shines on fourth-year veteran, Erica, a cheerleader who returned to the team last season after a short hiatus to pursue some other interests. She’s an excellent member of the team, and you’ll enjoy reading more about her hobbies and accomplishments.
You obviously love cheerleading, because you retired and returned for your third season. What prompted you to come back?
Yes, I love cheerleading, and once I watched from the stands, I realized part of me was missing! I have had some changes in my life and concluded that I really missed being a part of something so amazing. I danced every day for most of my life and feel that pro cheerleading is an extension of dance which allows me to continue to use my dance skills. Being a part of the team also allows me to also give back to the community and have opportunities I would not receive anywhere else.
What dynamics do you see within the group that makes the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders (TTCs) such a unique group of women?
This year, I feel that we are all mature women … mothers, students and working professionals. It is a group of humble ladies who are great at their crafts and professions. We all share common interests in our love for football and cheerleading. But at the same time, it is a diverse group of women from all walks of life ... none feeling any more important than the other. I honestly feel that I can pick up the phone and call them all and they would all be there for me. I even call some my sisters.
Walk us through a day in the life of Erica on a practice day.
I try to wake up and get my morning workout in either at D1 Sports or do Pilates at home. I cook a healthy, gluten-free breakfast, and then I have class for a few hours. I am studying mass communication (broadcasting/journalism) so I have to devote several hours to school each day. I try to eat 5-6 small meals a day.
Most days I arrive at the practice facility early enough to get my muscles warm and stretch for a good 30 minutes and practice choreography. Practice normally runs from 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. When I get home, I eat a small meal and finish homework.
What is your favorite Titans moment of all time?
Without a doubt, it will always be the Music City Miracle play for the field, but for the sidelines it was the engagement of one of my dear teammates. I was able to facilitate Network TV coverage for the proposal and was excited to see it all come together without a hitch. Since I want to use my degree to work the sidelines and behind the scenes, this was a great opportunity for me.
Is trying out for TTC every year as nerve-racking as the first time, or does it get easier each year?
Every year is just as nerve-racking as the year before. The bar has been set pretty high. Therefore, I feel the need to take extra dance classes, train, watch my diet and do all that it takes to make sure I am prepared to represent the Titans organization. There is always someone working twice as hard that wants your spot on the team. Everyone is replaceable.
Ballet or hip hop?
Hip hop. Ballet is very important though.
Apples or oranges?
Heels or flats?
Juice or water?
What is your favorite restaurant in nashville?
My favorite restaurant would have to be Whiskey Kitchen.
Have you ever had an ‘Aha!’ moment? If so, what was it?
My most recent ‘Aha’ moment was when I went to Fort Carson in Denver, Colo., to visit the troops. I come from a family of military veterans, and I finally understood all that they do to prepare to serve our country. This is a big job and they take it very seriously. I have always had a lot of gratitude for those that serve, but I came back with so much more respect for our soldiers and veterans. I appreciate the Titans organization for giving me that opportunity.
What is your dance background?
I have danced most of my life. I have trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and tap from a local dance studio, DC Dance Factory. I also traveled for many years on their competition team all over the United States. I have also danced in music videos, television shows, live appearances, commercials, etc.
Do you plan to try out for next season?
Yes, I plan on trying out for next season.
What characteristics do you feel you bring to the team this year?
I try to support my team members on and off the field. I always want to be someone that people can talk to. Whether it is just about choreography or some very serious issues in their life, I want to be there for them. If I can put a smile on someone’s face and help to lift their spirits, I feel I accomplished something that day.