What's up Redskins Nation!
WRC Ashley here to take you through my eventful experience on my first home-opening game!
As a rookie of the First Ladies of Football there are plenty of ‘firsts’ to encounter, this moment automatically enters my “Top 5”.
In fact, I was wondered what would my first game be like? My veteran sisters would describe the mood and atmosphere of the in-season games but all the stories end along the lines of “nothing can prepare you for the moment until you’re in it.” Adding to those stories was the fact that this home-opener would be against our rival team, the Dallas Cowboys. At this point I knew this experience would be one I’d never forget. The night before I recall checking my bags over and over, reviewing dances and sidelines in my head because this was such a big deal and I had butterflies from just thinking about it.
Arriving to FedExField the first thing I saw before reaching 900 feet of the stadium is a block of vans, cars, and smoke blocking half of the street. Are these tailgaters? At 7:30 in the morning? “HOW COOL IS THIS?!”, and that was only a preview of the game day experience. Moving along the security saying “good morning” and “happy game day” to staff and fans created an energy that filled the stadium with this scintillating vibe, it’s go time! Once we were all inside and settled it was time for field rehearsal (yes we practice on game day as well), which is the best time to take away the butterflies and channel them into my performance.
Once field practice is over, we head back to the locker room to freshen up, grab a bite, and get ready for pregame duties. My line was chosen to perform at one of the tailgating locations, in or-der to get there we were able to ride on the team golf carts. As we rode around FedExField through a sea of burgundy and gold tents I noticed fans smiling and waving at us and the only thing I could think about was “Are they really waving at me?” Once we reached our destination the sound of music grew louder and we had the opportunity to meet fans.
After heading back to the locker room it’s time to go through final touches, stretches, and all other necessary game day rituals. One of my favorite pregame rituals is circling up with my teammates to get our mindsets together in order to prepare and execute the adventure ahead.
Finally, the time had come, as walked through the tunnel onto the field. I took my spot and just happened to look up to the top of the stadium and see the words “Home of the Redskins," at that moment I knew I was in the right place. My journey to attain my goal to become a pro cheerlead-er brought me here, to a home. In an instant pre-game was over and the game began. We set out to our corners after kickoff, and did one of the things we do best, perform. During the second quarter, we scored a touchdown and it was time to perform ‘Hail to the Redskins’ for the first time in a sold out stadium. Earlier in our cheer season, Felicia told me that this fight song will mean so much more when it happens for the first time, and she was right, it was exhilarating!
Game day was amazing, but it all comes to an end. My first game was in the books. I am so humbled for the opportunity to be a part of a team of iconic and respected women. I can’t wait to experience the rest of the season and round out my ‘Top 5’ list as a rookie.
This blog is dedicated in loving memory to my incredible childhood friend Sidne Buchanan, I love and miss you. Fly High.