Stillwater High School and Oklahoma State has had some very notable professionals in many fields. Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions, Josh Fields for the Chicago White Sox, Matt Holliday for the St. Louis Cardinals and now the New York Yankees, Tyson Ritter, front man for The All-American Rejects, Brett Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Addie Corley, Thunder Girl for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Being a cheerleader, like any other athlete, is very time consuming and takes an incredible amount of physical effort. And for many, cheerleading stops after high school because of how difficult it is to make it at the collegiate level just like it would be for football or baseball players. And making it to the professional level may be tougher than making it as a football or baseball player due to such limited options (NFL and NBA mainly with a few semi-pro sports team mixed in).
Corley, a Stillwater native, Oklahoma State graduate and former captain of the pom squad, is one of the fortunate few that get to call themselves a professional and is currently in her second year as a Thunder Girl. I was able to catch up with her at Eskimo Joe’s tonight as they hosted the official watch party for the Thunder’s playoff game against the Houston Rockets.
ZL- So how is it being an Oklahoma City cheerleader?
AC- “Being an Oklahoma City cheerleader is probably the funnest thing any girl or boy would wish upon themselves. Especially being an Oklahoma native and getting to cheer on and support a team that’s so state involved, it’s just a really nice honor.”
ZL- Growing up, is this what you’ve always wanted to do?
AC- “Yes and no. I’ve danced since I was a little kid and then I cheered here at OSU. And then wasn’t quite done. Kind of a local girl so I didn’t want to go too far away. So, my next best thing was the Thunder and it’s turned out to be the greatest thing to happen to me.”
ZL- Are there many differences, if any at all between your time here at Oklahoma State and being a Thunder girl?
AC- “Yes and no. A big difference would be….well not really. The atmosphere at OSU and the atmosphere at Oklahoma City is kind of the same. Just the love of your team and the love of your city and the love of your state, it kind of just goes hand in hand with each other.”
ZL- During your time at Oklahoma State, what’s your favorite memory?
AC- “My favorite memory would probably be when we beat OU my freshman year and we rushed the field. Everyone was in mass panic, but yet super excited at the same time!”
ZL- TCU’s pom squad is kind of a farm system for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. How much work goes into becoming a professional?
AC- “A ton of work goes into becoming a professional cheerleader. You want to get your name out there and get it familiarized with the organization because it’s just so large. And then the technical skill and the physical skill, you just want to be perfect because you only have that one day to show them what you have. So, there’s a lot of build up to one last final hurrah to make your name heard.”
ZL- What’s the workload like? Is it mainly games, or a lot of appearances like this?
AC- “The workload is a handful. We practice three days a week on top of every home game that the Thunder have. As well as we do over 200 appearances in one season. So, since we are the only professional team in Oklahoma, we cover Oklahoma and some places in Kansas. So, we are fully on the go all the time, every week.”
ZL- What’s one thing you’d tell little boys and girls that want to be Oklahoma City cheerleaders?
AC- “I would tell them to dream big. Nothing is too big for you to achieve. And keep perfecting your craft and just keep working because nothing’s easy. Nothing’s handed to you but with hard work, it gets a little easier."