As the Raiderettes say goodbye to 12 retiring dancers, here is Raiderette Tess' send-off to Raider Nation in her own words.
"It's hard to put into words what being a Raiderette has meant to me for these past four seasons. Although I will not be returning to the field with my sisters, I take comfort in knowing that these memories and friendships I have made throughout the years will stick with me forever. They have shaped me into the person I have become today. They have shown me that with the right amount of training, hard work and determination, you can make your dreams a reality. I have spent long hours in rehearsals with my sisters to get our dances "just right" so that we could make our fans proud. I have stood up in front of complete strangers and conquered my fear of public speaking. I have watched a little girls eyes light up just because she gets to take a picture with me. And I have performed in front of sold out crowds in London, Mexico City and of course, our beloved stadium in Oakland. If I can leave Raider Nation with one takeaway about what it means to be a Raiderette, it's that we are a group of intelligent, hard-working and talented women who are incredibly passionate about what we do. I consider myself lucky to walk in the same circle as the women that I cheered with.
Most often, people see the glitz, the glam and the beauty of the Raiderettes, but they may not see the countless hours, the sleepless nights, and the dedication it takes to be a successful member of this team. We are doctors, we are lawyers, we are students, we are mothers... we are many things. But most importantly, we are family. We are links in a chain. We build each other up. We help and support one another and we are always there for a sister in need. I am humbled, beyond words, by this experience and what it has given me. I just want to say, thank you Raider Nation and thank you to the Raiders organization. You are forever etched in the memory of my life."
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.