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Cheerleader of the Week: Lindsay

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Three years ago, cheerleader of the week Lindsay was a Texans season-ticket holder with little dance background. She's come quite a long way since.

"She's one of those like kind of All-American dream stories," cheerleader services manager Alto Gary said, "because she was a fan in the Bull Pen, where all the wild crazy fans are, and she just decided to try out – got up, came over, tried out and she made it. And I'm sure it probably shocked her, because she has no dance training whatsoever.

"There were some people that had tap class back in the fourth grade. She didn't even have that. So from nothing to where she is now, is amazing."

Where she is, is in her second year as a Texans Cheerleader. Where she was, was watching games from the Bull Pen, the rowdiest section of Reliant Stadium located in the north end zone. She had been enamored with the Texans since their very first game, a 19-10 victory over the Cowboys that she watched on TV in her living room.

Lindsay attended her first Texans game a season or two later, bought season tickets on the Bull Pen side soon afterward and slowly moved her tickets closer and closer to the Bull Pen each season.

Then, three years ago, she had an inkling to try out for the Texans Cheerleaders. Lindsay dedicated a full year to preparation and hard work so that she could to make the squad, but she walked into the tryouts with a humble mindset.

"I was just going to be happy if I made it through the first round," she said. "We had four rounds in two days that year, and I made it through the first day and I was shocked because I got to go back the next day and I never thought I'd get that far."

Lindsay made it through the third round of tryouts and was cut in round four, but she wasn't discouraged.

"Honestly, I was so shocked to have gone so far that it was just such a great motivator for the next year," she said. "I took everything that I had learned from that and prepared even more and learned as much as I could in that next year, and then when I came back again, that's when I made it. So it was great."

Dance had always been nothing more than a hobby for Lindsay, making learning routines all the more difficult.

"For me, practices are hard because I haven't been doing this since I was two years old, so it takes a lot longer for me to pick up the steps and remember them and be able to polish them," she said. "I have to get through just remembering what I'm doing first, whereas a lot of the other girls already easily have it down and they're perfecting it, and I'm like, 'Ahh, wait! Hold on.'"

To help, Gary would put Lindsay next to strong veterans during practice so she could pick up on the proper movements and emotions. Lindsay took it upon herself to work hard and would take private classes and spend extra time with veteran cheerleaders outside of practice.

Even in her second year, Lindsay works overtime to learn new movements. She brings a video camera to practice and records her teammates who teach a certain step or who have a dance down pat. Between practices, Lindsay studies the tape to perfect the new dance.

It's what Gary calls the "extra homework" that she and Lindsay both knew she would have to do, and it's part of Lindsay's determined learning process that has been a treat to watch for Gary.

"To watch someone work hard and achieve something, that's all I ask for," she said. "I'm not asking for a Baryshnikov dancer; I'm asking for an entertainer. So I commend her, because I was rough on her, very rough on her, and I know it probably took a lot from within her to come to practice every day and knowing she had to work a little harder than the rest of the girls because she had no dance training at all."

Taking advantage of every opportunity afforded her, Lindsay helps Gary plan charity events and was featured in the inaugural Texans Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar. She also writes a blog for HoustonTexans.com and films a weekly video segment on TexansTV each Friday.

"Lindsay is one of the girls that actually gets it," Gary said. "You're only on the team for a short amount of time, two to three years, and you want to leave with something. It could be friendship or a job opportunity, a new direction in your career.

"There's a lot of soul-searching when you make the squad and then a lot of opportunities that weren't available to you before you made the squad. Lindsay has definitely grown from what she was to what she is and probably what she's going to be when she leaves the squad. I tell the girls, get what you can out of this. It's not going to last forever. Whatever it is, if it's another job, a husband, whatever's going to happen, make it happen."

Lindsay has done that, all while having to restrain herself from being overhwelmed by the highlight-reel plays happening 10 feet from where she's standing on Sundays. But the fan in her isn't going away – she'll be back in the Bull Pen as soon as her cheerleading days are over.

"I've got seats in the fourth row, but I just don't get to sit in them," she said with a laugh. "They are on loan to some friends for the time being, and then when I'm done cheering I get my seats back."

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