Despite their 2006 playoff appearance and promising outlook for this year, the New York Jets 2007 season has been plagued with a variety of problems. But lately, things have been looking up in the Meadowlands. With a new stadium in the making, the Jets are taking steps to beautify the state of New Jersey and breathe new life into the franchise.
Enter: The New York Jets Flight Crew.
Don’t call these girls cheerleaders, because in their inaugural year, they have proved themselves to be so much more. Aside from good looks, this group of girls was hand-selected from an invite-only closed audition based on their dance experience and expertise. Many of the girls are students at universities in the surrounding New York and New Jersey areas, but some have full time jobs and participate in community projects as well.
“My everyday life is dancing,” says Gina C. “I am a hairdresser during the day, and teach dance on our days off. I also make sure I train everyday even if it’s in my house.”
She’s used her position as a Flight Crew member to motivate the kids she teaches. “It (being a Flight Crew member) makes me a huge role model for my kids. It shows that if you work hard enough you can dance your life away!”
This is the first year the Jets have had their own dance squad. Up until now, the team had flag carriers and such, but no real faces you could associate with the team. This year, management and the powers that be decided it was time for a change. The Jets brought in Denise Garvey, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, New Jersey Nets dance team member, and Knicks City Dancer. With her expertise and experience in performance and dance, Garvey and the organization held closed auditions, inviting 50 or so young women from the surrounding areas.
However, Garvey had very specific expectations of future Flight Crew members.
“They must be athletic, entertaining, poised, well spoken and a great dancer.”
After grueling hours of auditioning, she narrowed down the masses to an elite corps group of ten: The very first official New York Jets Flight Crew.
“My craziest experience for me was the very first home opener game when we ran out of the tunnel. The fan’s that were cheering for us sounded like one huge roar, it was definitely an adrenaline run. I never ran so fast in my life, haha! I loved it!”
Getting used to practice schedules, game day performances, and earning the adoration of the masses can be tasking for anyone, but accomplishing all of these in a program’s infancy???..
Well, that takes guts. The ladies seem to be taking all the attention in stride, and handling themselves with the utmost confidence. And believe me when I say, that’s not an easy task in the Meadowlands, given the ups and downs Jets fans have endured this season.
“No matter what the outcome of the game is, the fans always give us a positive reaction,” says Gina. “They give us so much love and support. The attention is always overwhelming, you’re constantly reminded how much you’re cared for at every game.”
I got a chance to spend an afternoon with the ladies and observe as they interacted with fans and signed autographs. They posed for pictures, signed headshots, and shared a smile with those that stopped by their meet and greet tent. Many organizations keep the fans from interacting with their cheerleaders, mascots, and players, so it was nice to see fans getting to meet the people that make watching a Jets game on a chilly Sunday in December, that much more enjoyable.
As the Flight Crew wraps up their inaugural season, one can only imagine what lies in store for them in the months ahead.
“We are expanding the idea of the Flight Crew for next year,” says Garvey. “What that means exactly is yet to be finalized, but it will be very exciting to see the Flight Crew grow and develop in 2008.”
The girls too are excited to see how the Flight Crew matures as a part of a well respected NFL franchise. They aren’t taking the off season lightly either.
“I have huge hopes for next season!” says Gina. “I want us to come back even more aggressive and stronger! You can never get lazy is this business, and you should always strive to be better!”
Now that is something to cheer for!…