As the Raiderettes say goodbye to 12 retiring dancers, here is Raiderette Sasha's send-off to Raider Nation in her own words.
"6 seasons, 61 games, 5 international trips, 43874856 trips to Vegas, 1 Special Olympics, 1 year as a Co-Captain, 2 years as a Captain, the title of Raiderette of the Year 2019, and 1 Pro Bowl later… The journey has taught me, your dreams always bring much more than you can ever imagine.
Nothing can prepare you for this team and no one, besides the ones that have come before you, understand the experience you have on this team. This team gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. It challenged me in so many ways that in turn led me to grow as a Raiderette and as a person. From being a rookie sponge, eager to learn from the vets and soaking everything in to fast forwarding to my sixth and final season. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would become that vet, that leader I looked up to so much during my rookie year. The rich tradition and culture of the Raiderettes have been forever embedded in me and I hope my time on the team contributed to those same traditions and culture that will touch the lives of the next generation of Raiderettes. No matter how long your tenure, this team and organization leaves a long lasting impression on you. And let me tell you, this ride has left an imprint on my heart.
Tears are flowing down my face as I write this because you never think this day will come… the day that you close a chapter to something that you have worked your whole life towards. With this chapter closing, I can truly say that I have had the exchange of a lifetime. I have learned poise, humility and how to earn respect, not demand it. I have been given a platform to make a small yet noticeable difference within the community. I had the best seat in the house in the Coliseum and was able to perform for the best fans in the NFL. But most importantly, I gained the best family a girl could ask for! The love and support you feel from your Raiderette sisters is unmatched and goes beyond your time on the team. I have been in weddings, witnessed births of children and have been there for many life events for past and present sisters.
Being a Raiderette has made me the woman I am today, and in exchange, I was able to make an impact I never dreamed I could make. My impact came in contributing to breaking boundaries and prejudices and rising above them with class. I wanted to be able to empower women to go for their dreams and not feel like they are restricted to a "box" that I once felt restricted to. I wanted to prove that you can do it all from demanding the attention of an executive boardroom to putting on our iconic uniform and performing for thousands of fans. Us women can do it all! You see, no matter how big your dream might seem, do not let anyone and more importantly do not let YOURSELF stop you from going for it. You just have to believe in it before anyone else can see it.
To my coaches- There are not enough "thank yous" in the world for you. You believed in me even during the times when I didn't. You have truly made this experience everything I could have dreamed of plus millions more. I cannot put into words the love, respect, admiration and appreciation I have for you. I am eternally indebted to you as you allowed me to flourish and be the woman I am today.
To my team-you have truly been my backbone and showed up for me every single time… even when I didn't ask because you all just knew. Continue to break boundaries, get low and then lower after that, dance your heart out, continue to show up for each other and spread kindness to everyone you meet. It has been the honor of a lifetime to stand by you, lead you, laugh with you, cry with you and be your Raiderette of the Year & Probowl cheerleader. This is something I still pinch myself about to this day because it still feels like a dream. Just know I will carry a little piece of each and every one of you in my heart as I tearfully and humbly close this chapter and begin to write my next one.
I can truly say that I have had the time of my life. For the last and final time-here's to my coaches, my sisters, my past sisters that have paved the way, the Raiders Organization, the memories, the growth, the tears, the hardships, the hugs, the elbows, the boots and most importantly the medallion.
It is time for another set of dreams to come true as the new 2020 Raiderettes squad is formed. Good luck to all my returning sisters, remember to carry the legacy and cherish every moment as I can confirm it happens all too fast. To my soon-to-be sisters…. buckle up because you are in for the ride of a lifetime! As for me-I will always be here and am your biggest fan! I am but a phone call away.
Raider Nation, your electric roar is forever ingrained in my mind, my soul and my heart. It has been the honor of my life representing you.
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.