What you see from the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders on Sundays is only part of a much larger picture. What you may not realize is that all of us have either full-time careers or are full-time students. We work hard at what we do off the field so we can be successful on the field.
We, as a team, believe that hard work, dedication and persistence at all things in life lead to something far greater and much more rewarding. The "completeness" of a person is valued here on AFC, and we are a team that supports each others' endeavors on the team and outside of it.
What many may not realize is how important academics are when it comes to athletics. Without education, we are incapable of making some of life's most important decisions and learning what may be some of life's most valuable lessons.
What you also may not know is that the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders are comprised of some of the most intelligent, charismatic, ambitious, driven and kind women you will ever meet.
For example, there's Wendy. I bet you'd never guess this rookie is pursuing her biomedical engineering degree at Georgia Tech with ambitions to become a reconstructive surgeon and help the military develop biological reconstructive technologies. Wendy's dedication to AFC and her incredible sense of balance have helped her succeed in school and take full control of her own Rookie experience with the Falcons.
Then, there's Candice— a veteran cheerleader who recently graduated with her degree in nursing and has already secured her first job doing what she loves off the field.
Another example? Natalie. She's the director of the State Senate Press Office, managing all media relations for all of the Georgia state senators.
What about Denita? Well, she's an assistant for the Georgia State football program and the right hand gal of the one and only head coach Bill Curry.
And me? Well, by day I work in marketing for a technology firm, and by night I write for a sports blog and contribute as often as possible for the AFC blog here on AtlantaFalcons.com.
But these cases of ambition and pursuit of career beyond cheering are not isolated. Every woman you meet from AFC has goals and wants success that is engineered at her own hand. It's unbelievable, really, to meet a group of women so talented and intelligent.
Of course, this isn't limited to just the girls on the field. Cheerleader coordinator Chato Waters is established in her own rite. She cheered for AFC for six years, has been coordinator for seven and when she's not dealing with all things Falcons, she's the lead counselor for Clayton County School District.
And what about our choreographer, Jakene Ashford? Well, when she's not spending her time formulating creative new routines, she's working as a chemist. Yeah, you read that right, a chemist! You see, it all starts at the top. When you have great role models and examples, you have no choice but to want to succeed in the same way they have.
Maybe you didn't know these things about AFC, or maybe you had heard but didn't believe it. Either way, maybe now you can understand how incredible these women are. Everyone has a work-hard mentality and we love interacting with Falcons fans, cheering on gameday and being a part of the Atlanta community.
We also understand the direct correlation between athletics, academics, career and ambition. Without a love and passion for athletics we would not understand what hard work really means, and without that, none of us would be successful off the field.
Questions? Want to know more about AFC and what we do? Or do you have a special story to share of how your experience in athletics has directly impacted your academic or career goals? Let me know! I'm on Facebook at or on Twitter @AFC_Sara.
Cheers, and remember: work hard on the field, work hard off the field.