Day 5 – January 25, 2015
Sunday, I woke up and I was so excited. I had a lot of mixed emotions because it was the last day there. It was game day so I was excited, but also sad because this wonderful experience was coming to an end. I tried to push those few sad feelings aside because I wanted to fully enjoy the last day.
I woke up bright and early with my roommates and we got ready and we were just so excited to get the day started and show everyone what we were working hard towards. We arrived at the stadium and we had some practice before we started to get ready. After practice, we felt good within our own line, and as a team as well.
Raiderette Michelle represents the Raiders on the sideline of the 2015 Pro Bowl in Arizona.
We got ready for our day and I had the opportunity to do an appearance before the game at a tailgate party inside the stadium where we signed autographs, greeted fans and then performed two dances. Again, I saw a lot of Raiders fans. It's always nice to see the Silver and Black. It was so wonderful because they're so supportive and they were happy to see me there as well. It's awesome to have Raider Nation's support in Arizona.
We got ready to take the field to do our pregame performance. Standing there all together on the field before we walked on to do our pregame performance, so much was going through my head. I was excited. I was overwhelmed and just so thankful. Here I am, selected by my teammates to come here and represent the Raiders and Raiderettes. I was thankful to be there in that moment. I looked around and there I stood by a member from all the other NFL teams with cheerleaders and I was overjoyed and extremely thankful. I soaked it all in.
We killed our pregame performance as a team. It felt really good to vibe off each other. Even though we dance on different teams and we only came together and practiced a couple days, it was amazing how we all did such a great job. It was really clear we all love what we do and we can come together and do what we love together. It was really amazing.
We began the game and it was so much fun being in our line. We'd only danced a couple days together, but it felt like we'd been dancing with each other for years. It was fun to let loose and do our own thing and have a lot of fun together. We were making stuff up, following along, taking turns and working together as a line to give the fans some great entertainment. It was awesome to live in that moment and watch the game. I was so excited to cheer on Marcel Reece.
I really enjoyed every single second on that field. It almost didn't feel real being out there, but I truly enjoyed the experience and I'm thankful to have it. I hope I have made the Raiderettes proud and the Raider Nation proud. I really danced my heart out. It was an experience I'll never forget. Of course, Team Irvin won, so I was really excited about that! That was just the cherry on top for this amazing trip. Again, I'm just so thankful and I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.
Photo by Tony Gonzales
Day 4 – January 24, 2015
On Saturday, it was more of a simple day. We had a practice and then after, I got to go to the NFL Experience, which is basically a huge fan fest for fans at the Pro Bowl. I was excited because it was one of my first appearances. I was excited to get to work and see all the Raiders fans that came to the event.
It was so much fun. It was a huge space and tons of stuff to do. There were so many fans from all the teams. Of course, every time I saw a Raiders fan, I got really excited and called them over. It was fun to be with the ladies because we get along so well so we had a lot of fun together greeting all the fans, hanging out and taking pictures.
I was really excited because my family showed up and I got to see them. I was so thankful to have them there and to see them. Shortly after, I saw three of my Raiderette sisters come along and they walked around with my family and they all have "Team Michelle" shirts on. I just couldn't believe it. I was so shocked and happy to see them. It was just so funny to have myself on a shirt. It was wonderful to have them there and have them by my side and have them supporting me. It was incredible and it was another reminder of how lucky I am to have this experience and also to have people like that in my life. It was wonderful to see them and to have all that love. I'm so glad I got to have that experience and it was definitely a memorable part of the trip.
Day 3 – January 23, 2015
Today, Friday, the third day here, I had an early morning. I was chosen to be on the early morning appearance which was on CBS 5 here in Arizona. We were going to be on the morning show. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and I got ready and we met at 5:30. I'm already an energetic person and I'm a morning person, so I was just so excited, ready to go. I was also excited to hang out with my line some more.
We headed over to the CBS studio and we were all very excited. We walked in and it was so cool. There were all these computers and a big sign that said CBS 5. It's not something you experience every day so we were all really excited about it.
Raiderette Michelle represents the Raiders in Arizona for the 2015 Pro Bowl.
What was really special was the traffic reporter is a Pro Bowl cheerleader. She was the Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cheerleader from last year. That's her other job and she's also the traffic reporter. Being there was already special, but it was even more so because she's a PBC. It was awesome to meet her and she was the most energetic, bubbly person. She was so welcoming and so excited to have us.
First we went out on this patio area where we were interviewed and talked about our time so far. Then we had some of the other anchormen and women come on and we taught them an eight-count of a routine and they did wonderful. They then stepped aside and said, "We'll let the professionals handle this." We performed a little dance – a sideline we had learned – and we killed it. It was so fun. We headed over to a different area where we got to actually jump in on her green screen where she shows traffic. We were dancing with her and being goofy and having fun. It was so fun to experience a little of everything. She really wanted us to do as much as possible. It was a great experience to have.
After that we headed back to the hotel. We had breakfast and then we went to where the stadium is and practiced on a field next to it. We practiced together in our lines. We went over the routines, cleaned things up, worked on transitions and got even more ready for game day. We got a lot done.
We were free for the rest of the day, so I spent it with my line, having fun, hanging out, and resting up for what's to come tomorrow because I'm sure we have a busy day.
That wraps up my third day!
Day 2 – January 22, 2015
I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and ventured to the Pro Bowl Cheerleader photo shoot which was not too far away. We were all really excited and it was a beautiful location. We arrived and we were all really excited and pumped up and ready to take the picture.
When we first walked up to the place we were going to shoot, I was really happy because I ran into Raiders [team photographer] Tony, [photographer] Allan and [broadcast producer] Marcus and I was excited to see familiar faces and members of the Raiders crew. It was fun that they were going to be there to hang out and take pictures and get footage. It was great to see them.
The photo shoot was on this rocky mountain. At the top of the rock, it was extremely windy. We all thought that because it was Arizona, it would be hot weather, but we were surprised at how windy it was. I don't think I've ever experienced wind like that. It was fun because I was standing next to two ladies where all we could do is smile at each other and laugh because it was so freezing and windy. At the same time, we were having such a fun time and it was a great experience.
Photo by Tony Gonzales
We began to take the pictures and try to capture the perfect moment with the wind and the hair going the right away. Before we knew it, it was over. Then we got to do a quick introduction for the pre-game of the Pro Bowl Sunday. When we do our one eight-count, they put the video on the big screen. We recorded that and then we got to do a photo shoot with some of the photographers. We each individually took pictures and it was just a very fun and special moment. They make us feel like we're all special and superstars.
After that we headed back to take a break before our first practice, which I was so excited for. I couldn't wait to dance with everybody and have everyone come together and start truly becoming a team.
We began practice by reviewing everything, cleaning some things up, asking questions. Then we got put into our lines. I was hoping for Team Irvin because I saw Marcel Reece was on Team Irvin and of course I want to cheer on our Raider player. Our line was named to Team Irvin so I was super pumped.
We learned our whole pre-game and we put in a lot of hard work. It was definitely worth it and felt confident leaving practice and also really tired by the time it was done.
Our line had to get up early the next day so we finished the day with dinner, laughed a ton, bonded some more and became so close. We've truly come to already love each other and feel like teammates and sisters.
That wraps up my second day, which already feels like it's been a week! It's been so wonderful and I'm so excited to continue the experience. I cannot wait until game day!
Photo by Tony Gonzales
Blog Day 1 – January 21, 2015
Hey Raider Nation!
It's Raiderette Michelle checking in from Arizona.
I wanted to give you all a glimpse into my first day as a Pro Bowl cheerleader representing the Raiderettes, the Raiders and Raider Nation:
I was driving to the airport and I was very anxious and nervous. My stomach was in knots just thinking that it's actually happening and it's actually here. Being able to embark on this journey with a girl from every team is pretty incredible. I think that it was beginning to sink in a little bit on the drive to the airport. I was taking deep breaths and told myself that I need to calm down because it's going to be amazing. I'm going to have the time of my life.
Raiderette Michelle and Gold Rush cheerleader Aleena
I got to the airport and when I got into my gate I ran into Gold Rush cheerleader Aleena, which was a wonderful surprise because we were both wondering if we were going to be on the same flight. It was fun to talk because we'd never met before and we got to know each other a little bit and pick each other's brains. We both just kept saying how unreal this is and it's not real life and we were just extremely excited and couldn't wait to finally get to Arizona.
We quickly knocked out because we were tired and then we arrived in Arizona and everyone was just extremely friendly. We kind of had a free day so we grabbed breakfast and hung out and continued to get to know each other. Then we met up with at least eight other Pro Bowl cheerleaders and that was a lot of fun to begin to meet everybody.
I met my roommates – Krystal with the Kansas City Chiefs and Alice with the Falcons – and we hit it off. We've been having a blast. We all hung out for a little bit and then went to lunch. We went downtown and walked around. It was a beautiful day. We were just all still kind of in shock that we're here. It's very cool to be in the moment and take a look around and I'm looking at someone representing different teams and I'm here representing my team. It's a very surreal moment. I'm doing my best to soak it all in, and I am, very much so.
Raiderette Michelle takes a selfie with several other Pro Bowl cheerleaders
We had a great time at lunch continuing to get to know each other, talking about our teams and what's different.
We walked around a little more and headed back to our hotel to rest and take advantage of the time because we knew the rest of the week would be very busy.
We got ready for our welcome dinner and we met downstairs where we finally met everybody else that was here. Everyone is just so sweet and everyone is so excited. We took pictures and began to get to know someone new. The dinner was wonderful.
Pro Bowl cheerleaders ready for their welcome dinner
I'm very excited to give it my all and enjoy it with my new Pro Bowl sisters. Tomorrow we have a big day ahead. We have a photo shoot and we have some appearances and then our very anxiously-awaited practice where we will be separated into our lines. There's a lot to look forward to tomorrow.
That wraps up my first day! I had a blast and I cannot wait to venture out on my second day here in Arizona.
- Raiderette Michelle