Ravens cheerleader Leslie A. – a featured member of the Ravens Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar – checsk in to BaltimoreRavens.com with the latest edition of the Ravens Spirit blog.
Hey Ravens fans! Last week, we had so many exciting things going on, I don't know where to begin. OK, well I guess I could start with the Cheerleader Calendar Signing at Hightopps in Timonium Wednesday night.
We never really sit down and do signings, because generally, we're out in the crowd mingling with guests at an event or something. When we showed up, it was amazing. They had everything laid out for us, and it was kind of like doing a press conference. Honestly, it made us feel like we were celebrities. I really loved meeting everyone that came out, and there were a lot because I know I signed a ton of calendars. That was a good sign that we sold a lot, as well.
As far as the calendars go, we definitely feel that we produced a great product. I actually think it was even better than we thought it would be. That is something that I'd love to do again. It was such a different experience. I think it showed another side of our team. We try to be a well-rounded group. We're talented, smart and beautiful, as well, and the calendar offered a glimpse into that last category. It put it all together for us.
If you haven't already, you can still check out photos, videos and articles written by me and some of the other girls in Punta Cana **in the special section on BR.com**. And, of course, if you haven't picked one up already, make sure to check out our calendar – featuring yours truly in October, 2008.
Thursday night was even busier, though. We all had a lot of roles that night. Personally, I had to be at the stadium early and go to the VIP event in the locker room. It was pretty fun. We mingled with contest winners for about two hours, and then we were bussed out to Power Plant, which had the Kickoff Party and the band Trapt. By then, we were just there to sign autographs and hang out with the fans. It was great to see all the fans excited about the upcoming season – let alone the band – and you could really tell that things were ramping up for opening day.
And of course, that was only Day 2 for us.
The next night was Purple Friday, which we've been doing for a few years now. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go this time, but it's always a fun event. It's a different crowd because it's in the bars – and we're in uniform. But, I think the thing that makes it exciting is that people don't expect us. So when we're walking down the street and into the bar, I think that surprises a lot of people. I hope it's a pleasant surprise!
After being out for three days straight, you realize how difficult it is to balance your life during Kickoff Week. I wish I could duplicate myself sometimes. We all have full-time jobs or are full-time students. For me, I'm now traveling about an hour to and from Baltimore, so I actually got a hotel for the week to make things a little easier. But, there are definitely days when you have to change in the car, or are thinking about how to schedule your work day to leave enough time to do your makeup. It's funny when you think about it. It's so intense, but you just have to make it work. It just goes to show how much everyone is dedicated to the program. Really, you remember why you're a Ravens cheerleader at those times. And when you get there, I swear everything you went through that day goes out the window.
That brings me to the game on Sunday. It was definitely emotional for me on a few levels. I hate to say it, but I'm moving on from cheerleading after this year, so it was my last "first" game. And watching the rookies, seeing how they reacted to their first game, brought back all those feelings that I had my rookie year. They were definitely nervous, so I had to be there for them when I'm thinking about the first time I ran out of the tunnel.
We also didn't expect Ray [Lewis] to do his dance, and that was so exciting. I always look for that piece of grass he kicks before games, and I hadn't seen it in a while. When I saw it sitting near our holding area, I turned to some of the rookies and said, "Watch out, this is going to be crazy." I don't know what it is, but that dance really gets the crowd going.
I hope I warned them enough, because Sunday's game was one of the loudest I've ever heard. I told the rookies that preseason games were nothing compared to what the opener would be, and our crowd delivered better than I ever could have expected. I had no idea it was going to be that intense.
There was so much going on, too. We had a rookie quarterback – Joe [Flacco] did great! – and we were playing the Bengals. We had a new coach, and Ray did his dance. And, I even saw Carmelo [Anthony], who was there to be an honorary captain. I have to admit, I was a little star-struck, because I love basketball. The day was just awesome, and I don't think it could have turned out any better.
To the fans, I just want to say keep doing what you're doing. We've always had great fans that come out to events and support us and the guys, but this year, there seems to be an added energy. I don't know what it is. If we can keep the atmosphere as loud and intense as we did on Sunday, it's going to be a great season – and a lot of fun, too.
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back all season with some interesting stories from the field and in the community with the Ravens cheerleaders!
- Leslie A.