Monday, October 14, 2013
Paige Fulfer '14 — San Diego Charger Girl
As I embark upon my Senior year at USD, I realize how quickly time has flown. I also look at how many friends I have made in college, how I have fallen in love with San Diego, and how I have busied myself with endless activities and opportunities. As a full time student, I am currently finishing up the remaining requirements needed to fulfill my Communication Studies major. Even though I may be feeling bombarded with group projects, individual presentations, and analytical research memos, I know that Communication Studies has helped me through one major facet of my life thus far…being an NFL Cheerleader.
Now I know what all of you are thinking….and let me assure you that none of it is true! While I am in my second season as a San Diego Charger Girl, I continue to deal with the stereotypical attitude imposed by society towards professional cheerleaders. The notion that we are simply pretty poster material is the usual viewpoint. I am proud to say that I have learned to prove all of these negative assumptions wrong by mastering and implementing the power of confident communication skills.
Out of the 500+ women who auditioned for the San Diego Charger Girls, I was one of 28 women chosen to make the squad in April 2012 and again in April 2013. Both times, I competed through preliminary dance auditions, an individual interview, a group interview, and a final dance cut. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises for me after making the team came the very next weekend at our 3-day mini-camp. We were notified that we were each going to give a 3 to 4 minute autobiographical speech as a way to introduce ourselves to the team, directors, and coaching staff. I felt sheer panic…public speaking was my worst nightmare.
Two seasons later, I have overcome my fear of public speaking and have learned to use it as an opportunity to prove the media, acquaintances, and even fans wrong from negative stereotypes that surround cheerleaders. As a team, we all participate in Toastmasters, a public speaking course instructed by a team of public speaking professionals. The program is an 8 week course, in which each member of the squad gives a 4-6 minute “icebreaker” speech, participates in mock interviews for radio and TV, and practices answering tough questions the media often ask us.
I came to recognize my own power as a confident, intelligent, and well- spoken woman. Communication is constant and ubiquitous; it is the key component to my success as a student, NFL cheerleader, peer, friend, leader, and overall individual. As a Charger Girl, I am sent out into the community to do charity work, promotions, and appearances on a weekly basis, as well as cheering at all Chargers home games. I am, in other words, an ambassador and public figure for the Chargers organization. Every form of communication I participate in is a reflection of the organization, my team, and myself.
All in all, being an NFL Cheerleader while attending the University of San Diego is the stuff made of dreams…and all my dreams came true.
Kristin Moran, Ph.D.