Jets Flight Crew member Linda is the only Gang Green representative in Hawaii this Sunday.
Leon Washington, Kerry Rhodes, David Harris. Arguably a trio of Pro Bowl snubs, some of epic proportions, for the New York Jets football team this year. With Rhodes’ big-play ability and end-of-the-year tear, Washington’s kick returning magic this year and Harris’ rookie explosion, it would only seem fitting that at least one of these players would make the trip to Hawaii despite a lackluster team effort.
Despite the fact that no members of the football team will be donning the AFC colors next Sunday, though, there will be one member of the Jets’ organization in attendance. Linda, a member of the inaugural Flight Crew, will be making the trek out to the islands with a number of other cheerleaders from the NFL to make numerous appearances over the next week, including participating in the games’ actual festivities.
Considering where Linda and the Flight Crew started, the invitation is quite remarkable and an impressive accolade. Just a few months ago, the Flight Crew was holding tryouts for 50 women by invite-only to try to form a new cheerleading section for Gang Green. Now, after a season of learning the trials and tribulations of an NFL cheerleader, a college student from the Fashion Institute of Technology is Honolulu-bound with the best in the sport.
“It did catch me off guard,” Linda said regarding the invite. “We didn’t even know this was coming. It’s a huge deal for the Flight Crew.”
The invitation is expected to pay major dividends for the Flight Crew next year as well. Instead of the 50 participants in tryouts last year, national attention, including the Pro Bowl invite, is expected to draw in 400-plus Flight Crew-hopefuls when time rolls around next year to select 2008’s Flight Crew.
While dancing and cheering may only be a hobby for Linda—she hopes to enter the field of interior design upon graduation from F.I.T.—there is little doubt that being on the field Sunday in front of 75,000-plus Jets fans brings about excitement—and butterflies—for the Flight Crew rookie.
“The first game was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever had to do,” Linda said. “”I had never dance in front of 75,000 people before.
“[The fans] are the best part of it,” she continued. “They were probably the most fun in the rain. I just had so much fun, and the fans got rowdier.”
Linda added that pre-game interaction with fans at the merchandising tent is an additional experience that makes the rigorous practices worthwhile.
“There is only 10 of us so [the fans] knew a lot of us by name,” Linda said.
Linda, who has been dancing since the age of three, sees no end to her passion in sight. Despite the fact that she doesn’t plan to pursue dancing as a full-time career, she does intend to continue the hobby after graduation from F.I.T., including continuing to teach at the dance school she instruct at on Long Island.
As far as the trip to Hawaii, just about anybody can probably admit some envy. After all, instead of bundling up to shovel the sidewalk in New York and New Jersey, Linda will be bound for the most tropical part of the United States. While it may appear to be simply a vacation for the Flight Crew member, though, Linda will have a set agenda upon arrival.
“I don’t even know what to expect,” Linda said. “They keep us busy with promotional events, appearances, practices…[but] I am looking forward to seeing the beaches.”
Granted, it may be difficult to tune the television to the Pro Bowl on Sunday with no presence from the Jets’ football team. However, Gang Green will not be entirely absent from Hawaii, and Linda will undoubtedly impress the onlookers.
Chick flicks and comedies; no blood, gore or action
Favorite Food: Sushi
Favorite Opponent: The Dolphins; because “we won.”
Favorite TV Show: Lost
Worst Part of Flight Crew: There isn’t a bad part; “Practices are grueling, but nothing bad about it.”
Best Part of Flight Crew: Performing at the Meadowlands, dancing in front of 80,000 fans, and being with the other nine girls.
Super Bowl Pick (Pre-Sunday): “Definitely” the Giants.
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