Jeff and I aren’t big football fans.  I loved high school games back in the day when I had to dance at half time, but professional football just isn’t our thing.  Although, being in Nashville with the Titans’ awesome, well start, to their season was pretty exciting.  Too bad it didn’t end as well as it began…

Anyway, despite all that, I never miss a Super Bowl.  Why?  Well, because they’re fun.  It’s an opportunity to be social, because someone is usually having a big shindig (thank you to the Faiths who have hosted all of us from church the last two years!).  And I usually think the commercials are funny (except for this year).  But…  the big reason is because I danced at Super Bowl XXXV.  Yea, the really bad one, where the Ravens slaughtered the Giants 34-7.

superbowl

Yep, there I am.  Seventeen and a senior in high school.  Because of American All-Star, who always did our dance camps in the summer before the school year started, I was able to perform during pre-game of Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.  Every year, they’d pick a handful from each team that did great during camp and would select them as All-Stars, and they would have the opportunity to travel somewhere overseas around Thanksgiving to perform somewhere.  And out of the hundreds of All-Stars chosen throughout the states, only 100 high school All-Stars  got picked to dance at the Super Bowl. 

I got picked as an All-Star in eighth grade.  That year they were going to London to dance at Disneyland.  The parentals thought I was too young to go, so I thought, “well maybe in high school.”  But, when I got into high school and was able to start dancing as a sophomore, I learned about the Super Bowl gig.  In junior high I never heard about it, because junior highers weren’t eligible.  But when I learned of this opportunity in high school, this became a dream and a goal.  Wow… to dance on national TV, what a gig!

As a junior, I got selected as an All-Star, my first time in high school.  My parents had told me that I could only pick one – – overseas or Super Bowl.  I knew my chances were pretty slim as a junior to get picked for the Bowl, but I held out.  Sure enough, I didn’t get it.  But there was always next year.

And then came the fall of 2000.  Dance camp had come and gone.  I was selected as an All-Star again that summer.  I think the trip was Berlin that year (I’m probably getting these all mixed up – – it’s been years!).  Part of me wanted to do it, because I knew this was it.  But I also knew that if I did go overseas, and then got picked for the Bowl, that I would be mad at myself for not holding out.

So I waited.

They had told us at camp that those selected for the Super Bowl would be notified, by mail, by the end of September.   August passed, and day after day in September passed.  I remember the last Friday of the month we had a Friday night football game.  A football game meant a quick run through of our routine on the field after school, then head home to get ready.  The handful of us that had been selected as All-Stars had been so nervous the last week, knowing that the month was so close to the end.  As of Friday’s practice, none of us had heard anything.

So we practiced, then I headed home.  I walked in, and in the middle of the entry room floor were some balloons and an envelope.  I paused, bent down, opened up the card from my parents, and inside was a letter from American All-Star!  I started screaming, jumping, crying, the whole bit.  This is the only time in my life I have reacted like a girl.  My parents came in laughing, and they proceded to show me that they’d hid the video camera.  So yes, this is all on tape (but I don’t know where it’s at this very moment, so don’t ask to see it!). 

So you can imagine the excitement and awkwardness that followed me to the game.  How do you ask everyone else if they got that letter?  Well, it wasn’t hard when it was written all over the others’ faces that got accepted!

So after the letter came videos for learning dances at home.  Then the week before the game in January, we all hopped on a plane to Tampa.  The week in Florida was crazy insane, boot camp really.  Practice after practice trying to get the dances together.  But we also got to play a bit, dance on one of the morning shows (don’t remember which one) and spent a day at Magic Kingdom and Busch Gardens. 

So it was so neat to watch the Super Bowl this year, because it was the same place I’d been.  They showed the field, they showed the tunnels, and I could say I’d been there!  I had danced on the 45 yard line in beach clothes to some cheesy girl band (they lip synced), watched girls dance to Styx (also lip synced) while I changed for “Roxanne” on the side lines, then came back out to dance to Sting (who actually sang!).  And I’ve heard “America the Beautiful” (sang by Ray Charles) and “The National Anthem” there (sang by the Backstreet Boys) while standing under the American flag we made out on the field.  And since I was stuck under it, holding up a piece, I didn’t think it was fair I couldn’t actually see them.  So I peeked, by watching the jumbo tron, only to see a big whole in the flag on the screen and actually see the camera zoom by me, only to put the two together and realize that was my hole! (yes, it was very obvious on TV, not me but the hole!).  Yep, that’s my claim to fame. 🙂

And because the head of American All-Star was also in charge of the half time show (back when MTV was still allowed to participate hahaha), she pulled strings and got us all in as part of “the crowd” that rushed the stage when ‘N Sync, Aerosmith, Mary J.  Blige and Britney Spears sang.  The best part was, I had the privilege of standing on the side that Britney came up, and I totally saw her trip up the stairs!

So… Super Bowl Sunday is a pretty big day for me every year.  Even though it’s not like it was (I’m not even sure American All-Star has anything to do with it anymore), it’s still a big deal.  This was a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after all.  And many might not understand.  Sure, they think it’s cool that I was on TV, and when I still wear my jacket and people notice, I get the “oh, that’s cool!” comments.  But most don’t understand that it was so much more than that.  It was one of the first dreams of my life to come true… and having had that, having worked for it and waited and leaped for it and actually been given it, it makes going after more dreams a bit easier.  And I’m thankful for that, because it’s those things that led me here to Nashville, led me to actually try to work in Christian music.  Had I not known that experience, I would’ve thought many of my dreams were too big.

Oh, and no, I didn’t actually get to see the game live.  When we weren’t changing out of our uniforms or in holding tanks waiting for halftime, we saw it on TVs just like most everyone else.  But I did get to meet all the performers and just happened to run into Rob Schneider backstage.

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