Erica talks cheer tryouts

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The 2009 Houston Texans Cheerleaders Tryouts begin on Saturday, April 18.

Texans Cheerleader Erica, the cover girl of the 2009 Houston Texans Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar, has some savvy veteran advice for the upcoming Houston Texans Cheerleaders Tryouts.

Erica, who has spent three years as a cheerleader, tried out a few times before she finally earned a spot on the squad and learned that a little persistence goes a long way.

Cheerleader tryouts are right around the corner. What advice do you have for someone who might be trying out for the first time?

"Yes, tryouts are coming up in a couple weeks on Saturday, April 18. They'll be at the Methodist Training Center, so please come out. Some advice that has worked for me the last couple years would be try to get a little extra working out in. it's always good to look your best, but you always want to have confidence and feel your best, and so I always have confidence when I'm working out.

"Also, getting a nice outfit would be wonderful, because a lot of these girls show up with these amazing little outfits. I mean, sports bras and shorts are fine. You can still be discovered – plenty of people have. But if you want to put the extra time in, it does really show. So add a little sparkle, and bright colors are always great – hot pinks, yellows, and make sure you maybe have some boots. We wear boots a lot. Just making that extra effort, it shows a lot. So those are some tips, and I guess just doing your best and just forget about everything else and come in and have a good time."

You just finished your third year on the squad, so you know how many girls go to tryouts each year. How do you keep yourself from getting intimidated?

"That's kind of impossible, to be honest. It's always a little bit intimidating, but you can either start going downward and just let it get to you and bottle you up, or you can kind of flourish and keep trying. My first two years, I didn't make it and it was hard because when I left tryouts I would just cry and cry like, 'Why didn't I show them what I had?' I'm kind of a shy person, and I would hide in the corner. Nobody saw me. I don't think they even knew I existed.

"It takes me, personally, a while just to warm up to things and my environment, and so by the third year, I felt comfortable. I'd been to the training facility before. I had met people. And it's good to kind of go with a friend, too, because you have somebody to talk to during tryouts and say, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm so scared and stressed!' It's nice to be able to get that out.

"But overall, you just have to go in there and do your best and keep trying. Every year, they're looking for something new, so just keep trying out. If you think that honestly you have what it takes, just keep trying out and try to be as confident as you can. Don't let it harbor you, because that's what I did my first two years. I'm glad I didn't make it, in a way, because I don't think I was ready. And when you're ready, it'll show and you'll shine."

You took a long road to making the Texans Cheerleaders. You even worked in the press box at Reliant Stadium during Texans games before making the squad. Talk about what you did there and how that persistence paid off for you.
"I ran the stats. I actually worked the Super Bowl, which I was so excited about, although it was a little bit of a hard time for me because I saw the cheerleaders on MTV and I was like, 'Oh, why didn't I make it this year! They're having the Super Bowl; it would've been awesome!' But I still got to be up there and I got to watch all the games and learn a little bit about football. And honestly, I knew things (about football), but I didn't know a lot. I learned so much from people around me and I got to meet some of the Texans, some of the workers.

"So maybe that helped during tryouts because I knew them and I felt a little bit more comfortable. It was so much fun; all we did up there was eat and hang out. I say I ran the stats; I mean, I threw out a couple papers and then we'd just hang out, so it was great. It was fun being a hostess. But it's definitely been a long road, so I really feel like the Texans have just been a huge part of my life. So it's going to be hard this year not trying out. But hopefully, I'll get to watch and just have a good time and relax for once."

What can somebody look forward to if they make the squad? This obviously has meant a lot to you the past few years.
"You can look forward to making lifelong friends, of course. It's definitely something that you're going to take something with you forever. I mean, I'll never forget everything we've done. We've volunteered. We've helped kids during Junior Cheer. And that's one reason I am leaving: I really appreciate the time I've had here, and I don't want to take anything for granted.

"You'll make friends, you'll get to volunteer. You're working with kids and then you're around your community. You get to come here every game and watch fans and get everybody kind of pumped up and excited. And during the game, you'll never experience anything like the crowd cheering for you. We have wonderful fans and we're just really blessed here. It's great. There's nothing bad about it. It's amazing."

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For more information on the 2009 Houston Texans Cheerleaders Tryouts, click here.

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