Editor's note: For safety reasons, NFL cheerleaders are not allowed to reveal their last names.
Five Ball State students and alumnae will spend the 2017-18 NFL season on the field rather than in the stands.
The women were recently selected as cheerleaders for the Indianapolis Colts.
Twenty-six women made the team, including Abby, a sophomore elementary education major. She auditioned her senior year of high school and while she didn’t make the team, she fell in love with the experience. After taking a year off to pursue other hobbies, Abby decided to audition again this year.
“When I heard my number get called, I just immediately started bawling,” she said.
Around 85 women auditioned March 19, and 49 were selected to go through a weeklong series of tests on things such as dance technique, fitness and football knowledge.
During the week, Abby commuted to Indianapolis from Ball State.
“I was having class 10-3 every day and then I’d go straight home, hurry up, do my hair and makeup, get in the car, drive the hour drive to Indy, be there 6-10 p.m. [and] get back pretty close to midnight,” Abby said. “It was crazy, but very rewarding and worth it.”
At the showcase on March 26, the 26 girls were selected for the team after performing a group routine, opening number, solo and on-stage question based off the interview process they went through.
“When they announce that team, it’s just such a special moment to be able to go backstage and slip those white boots on,” Abby said. “It is really surreal and a once-in-a-lifetime thing that not everyone gets to do.”
Lori, who graduated in 2015, has always admired the Colts Cheerleaders on the field and in the community. The upcoming season will be her first on the team.
“Dancing is a passion and as a dancer, you long for that opportunity to keep doing it after school,” she said. “I worked harder than I ever thought I could for this opportunity, and I am so excited to get the season started.”
Lori’s favorite moment of the audition process was the showcase because she loves to perform on stage. She is anxiously awaiting the season to start and is looking forward to spending time with her new team.
“All of the other 25 women on the team are amazing and I can't wait to get to know them better and create a sisterhood,” Lori said. “I think the best part about performing on the field, practices and everything that goes into being a Colts Cheerleader is doing it all with your teammates.”
Ambira, a 2015 alumna, made the team this year for her second time. She has a love for dance and the Colts, and being a Code Red dancer made her want to take her passions to the next level.
“Seeing how the women carried themselves with such poise really solidified my decision to audition for Colts Cheer after college,” Ambria said. “After having an amazing year as a Colts Cheerleader last season and getting to see first hand how extraordinary the organization is, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to audition to be on the team for a second year.”
Rachel, a 2013 alumna, currently works at Riley Hospital for Children and this will be her rookie season. When she graduated, she was excited to start her career but felt she had lost the sense of identity in being involved in large organizations, such as Chi Omega and Dance Marathon.
“I always felt like I was giving of myself to something, but also having other activities to do. I just missed in general the sisterhood of girls and of friends that you gain in an organization and having that support system around you,” Rachel said.
When Rachel’s name was announced at the showcase, she felt the way she had only felt one time in her life before.
“This is what all your hard work and dreams have come to and you accomplished this goal of yours that was so big, it was almost dream-like,” Rachel said. “You weren’t sure if you could hit [it], but you put everything into making it.”
The team is looking forward to what it hopes will be a great season with the Indianapolis Colts.