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Cheerleader of the Week: Celina


Light-hearted Celina gives Texans fans an inside look at a Texans Cheerleader's gameday experience.

Every one of the Texans Cheerleaders has to try out for the squad each year – even the best dancers and the long-time veterans. But the special ones make it every time, and Cheerleader of the Week Celina certainly fits in that category.

"Celina's one of the memorable girls on the team," cheerleader services manager Alto Gary said. "Fans remember her. She's tall, got that dark hair. She's a very attractive girl, and talented. I love long-legged dancers, and she's one of my tall girls on the squad."

Aside from Celina's skills as a dancer, Gary says that Celina's sense of humor and compassion make her a favorite among the cheerleaders. The fourth-year veteran is never afraid to speak her mind.

"She will definitely say what people are thinking but not wanting to say," Gary said. "She'll be the one to spit it out. Usually I like people like that, so I'll be like, 'Thank you, Celina, for saying that. Set 'em straight.'"

Celina has connections with several girls on the team that extend beyond being a Texans Cheerleader. She works at KHOU with Elizabeth and Lindsay, and also danced with Danielle in college. Celina's experience and her closeness with those veterans allow others on the squad to confide in her for support.

"Celina is someone I was on my first year with and she helped me through a lot of things that I was going through at the time, so I consider her a really close friend," Erica said. "Anytime I need anything, I just give her a call and she's always there for me, telling me where I need to go and giving me direction. I really appreciate and love her."

Celina gave us an inside look at the game day experience through the eyes of a Texans Cheerleader. During the regular season, the cheerleaders arrive at Reliant Stadium at six o'clock a.m for practice walk-throughs, breakfast, more practice and then appearances with Texans fans in the hours leading up to a noontime game.

{QUOTE}After the appearances, it's into the cheerleader locker room to prepare for the game, where up to 20 cheerleaders at a time sit and chat with each other as they touch up their hair and makeup in front of a long mirror.

"Then we go out to the tunnel, get ready to walk through the big Toro and we say our little game day prayer," Celina said. "Standing in the tunnel, oh, it's the best feeling in the world. That's like the number one game day feeling. You're just waiting for the announcer to say, 'And let's welcome our Houston Texans cheerleaders!' As we're walking out, Man, I Feel Like a Woman comes on and fans are cheering so loud. That's one of the best feelings on game day."

Celina discussed the cheerleaders' game-long tug-of-war between watching the action on the field and entertaining the fans in the crowd.

"Being on the sideline is such a neat experience because it's the best seat in the house," Celina said. "But you don't have the opportunity to watch (the game) 100%. You're watching and you're like, 'Okay, third down, what's going to happen?' Then the music comes on and you have to turn around and dance and then you turn back around and you're like, 'Oh my gosh, it's second down. What just happened?'

"But it's awesome. The sidelines are so fun. We try to get the fans involved as much as possible."

Even after three years, the excitement of game day hasn't worn down for Celina.

"It's a huge rush," she said. "It's amazing looking at (the fans) while you're performing and working the crowd. It feels like they're interacting with us when they cheer. You can hear if they like a certain song or if they like a certain move. It's amazing, and so much fun."

And the outcome of the game affects the Texans Cheerleaders as if they were a part of the team.

"If the Texans win or lose, it has a huge affect on the rest of the evening," Celina said. "If there's a win involved, the cheerleaders' locker room is just an amazing atmosphere to be in. Everyone is so pumped and so excited and when we lose, it's a team loss. It's not just the players that lost. We lost, too.

"You know we're going to hear it when we go back to our real jobs in the real world. 'You didn't cheer hard enough. You could have waved those poms a little harder.' Oh, you just know it's going to happen and it's hard. But when there's a win, it's a win for everybody."

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