As the Raiderettes say goodbye to 12 retiring dancers, here is Raiderette Jenna L.'s send-off to Raider Nation in her own words.
"Hi Raider Nation!
I am honestly still in disbelief that I was a part of one of the most honorable and prestigious cheerleading teams, the Raiderettes. I had dreamed about it for so long and never thought it would happen to me! Which just proves to never stop believing in yourself and to work hard to make your dreams happen. After meeting the incredible women at auditions my first year and not making the team, I knew that this is where I needed to be! I trained hard that year by teaching dance, maintaining my fitness, and practicing technique and style. I came from a modern dance-based program in college where I wasn't typically a favorite in my classes. I sometimes felt I wasn't good enough and inadequate to my fellow dance major colleagues. I never quite found my place. When I made this team my second time trying out, it finally felt like I found home. I've never felt so much love with a group of people in my whole life! The support system that I found in this sisterhood is more than I could have ever imagined. Every woman I've met on this team has inspired me in their own way. I am so grateful I was given the chance to experience this one of a kind opportunity that gave me the best three years of my life!
Raiderettes has bettered me as not only a dancer, but as a friend, sister, and human being. It taught me about hard work, dedication, and passion. The effect we have on Raider fans is a sentiment I will always remember. The love is always reciprocated. I will never forget the experiences I've had from performing in front of thousands of fans, to traveling to Las Vegas, Mexico City, and London. But performing for Raider Nation in our Oakland Coliseum was the most rewarding opportunity of them all. I will always remember the feeling of walking on that field at the beginning of each game and hearing the "Autumn Wind".
Unfortunately, in my pursuit for my fourth year to be a Raiderette, I tore my ACL and meniscus while filming my audition tape. The second I heard from my doctor about my MRI results, a part of me was crushed. I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet. I wanted to keep living out my dream. But I realized that even though my journey ends for now, I will always be a Raiderette. It will always be a huge part of me. It has taught me to be strong during this recovery so I can come back stronger than ever. Thank you to my coaches, sisters, and Raider Nation for teaching me about perseverance, being brave, and helping to shape me to be who I am today.
As finalists prepare for the 2020 Raiderette Final Auditions, the Raiderettes would like to honor the 12 dancers who will be hanging up their boots and pom-poms this upcoming season.