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From Juniors to the First Ladies of Football

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The first time I wore a Washington Cheerleading outfit was at two years old. Looking back today, who knew that the cute outfit my parents would dress me in on Sunday's would be the start of a dream come true!

At the age of three I enrolled in my first dance class and found a passion that continued to flourish over the years. When I was 11 years old, I blended my passion for dance with my excitement for my favorite NFL Team by joining the Washington Junior Cheerleaders Dance Team! 

An NFL game is the ultimate American pastime for people to come together with family and friends to laugh and cheer on their favorite players and team. As a junior cheerleader, I danced on FedEx Field during half performances, participated in juniors training camp, and even performed in holiday parades! After a few years, I wanted to become more involved and tried out for the Junior All-Star team where I competed in dance competitions and performed at home games. I have always loved performing and competing, and I especially thrive off of the energy of a large, spirited game day crowd.

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My time with the junior team not only provided me with the opportunity to practice and perform at FedEx Field, but with the opportunity to cheer and dance alongside the First Ladies of Football. Throughout the years, I always admired their talent and beauty, but it was their ambition, work ethic, and grace that inspired me more than anything to be in their shoes one day. I'll never forget the moment it hit me standing in the FedEx Field studio as a Juniors Cheerleader, next to these talented First Ladies, my dream to become a Washington Cheerleader was realized.

When I started high school, I was not able to continue my journey with the junior team. The 2.5 hour commute was just too much with my commitment to school, my school's dance team, and my dance studio schedule. I missed it so much, but knew that I would return to FedEx with my sights set on trying out for the First Ladies of Football.

My senior year of high school was different than most due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We did not have a senior prom, I never got to say goodbye to my classmates and teachers, and our graduation was far from traditional. However, I kept my head up and worked to make the best out of a bad situation at every turn. Then suddenly, the stars aligned and I saw a silver lining as a result of the pandemic. I was not planning on trying out for the First Ladies of Football for the 2020-2021 season because I wasn't old enough (my birthday was one day too late for me to qualify). However, due to COVID, the original tryouts were postponed by 2 months and were going to be held virtually. Because of the tryout date change, the birthdate requirement changed as well and all of a sudden … I was old enough to try out!

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The audition process was such an incredible experience. Throughout the virtual platform and audition process, I was able and honored to meet such amazing people and to learn from exceptionally talented dancers. When I received the news that I made the team at the final showcase audition, it was an unbelievable feeling! At first, I was in shock. My dream had just come true while on Zoom live, in front of all who were watching and with my family in the next room. I even became a Washington Cheerleader before I even graduated from high school (as graduation was 4 days later). It was unreal!

It is my hope, while serving as a First Lady of Football, to be able to encourage kids and everyone I interact with to chase their dreams and to reach for the stars, always … because I'm living proof that dreams do come true. 

Cheers, 

Madison

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