Monday, August 24, 2015

Dallas Stars Ice Girl

I did it.  I freaking did it.  After months and months of two-a-day workouts, crazy clean eating, no cheat meals, countless dance classes, lots and lots of tears, hard work and determination...I made the Dallas Stars Ice Girls team!  Never in my wildest dreams would I thought these words would come out of my mouth.  

Last year I danced professionally for the Dallas Sidekicks dance team, and I absolutely loved it.  It was a great year, and I definitely feel like it prepared me for future professional teams.  I loved dancing for the Sidekicks, and I will always cherish the relationships I formed through the team.

DSIG tryouts were the weekend of July 25th. Each team hold auditions a little differently, for Dallas Stars Ice Girls there are a few rounds the actual day of auditions.  Each round they made cuts, and girls got sent home.  At the end of the day, they announced the candidates for training camp.  Training camp is a two week intensive audition, where they cut at least 2 girls each night.  Each day I would go to work for 9 hours like I normally do, then I would leave straight from work and go dance/skate for 4 hours, get done at 10:30 (sometimes later) at night...just to get up and do the same thing the next day.  I don't know if training camp was more physically or mentally exhausting.   Not only were we all physically pushing our bodies to their limits, and were so unbelievably sore it was  painful to walk, let alone dance.  Each night they taught us a new dance, and we were expected to not only remember the dance from the night before, but have it perfected.  This might have been easier if I didn't have a career like some of the girls, but I was working (stressing) all day long, and so mentally and physically I was pushed to my limits.  We also ice skated for at least one hour each night, which was also extremely nerve wracking.  No one likes to fall skating, but especially not when your every move is being judged.

When they finally announced the team, all I could do was cry...but this time they were happy tears.  For some people, things come easy in life.  Some girls I know just float through life, without a care in the world.  Unfortunately/fortunately, this is not the case for me.  Everything I have, I've had to work so hard for.  Making this dance team was no exception.  I worked so hard, for so long, and it finally paid off.  I improved immensely with my dancing.  I took dance classes every night after working 9 hours a day.  I transformed my body.  I learned to eat right, really watching what I put in my body.  I learned how to hockey skate.  Along with many things, my Dad taught me how to ice skate growing up.  Sometimes when it would rain, then freeze later that night, our front yard would turn into an ice rink.  Other times he would take us into Chicago, and we would skate in Millennium Park.  I have wonderful memories of him teaching me how to ice skate.  Unfortunately, hockey skating is very different.  Luckily, my amazing friends Manda and Liv are great hockey skaters.  They bought my skates for my birthday and took me skating every week.  I'm so lucky to have them in my life!  If dancing, working full time, skating, and being married weren't enough to balance, I worked out every morning before work.  Three days a week I ran in the morning with my running buddy Nikki, she is a rock star.  She came to my house each morning so I could hurry and get ready for work after our 4 mile run.  Each day I was working out and dancing, sometimes skating as at least 2-3 workouts a day.  This didn't leave much time for other things, which brings me to my next motivator...

Sean.  I can't even talk about it without crying.  There is no way, in this world, that I could have accomplished this dream of mine without his help.  It is absolutely impossible for me to thank him for everything he does for me on a daily basis.  From waking up early with me to work out, cooking me healthy dinners, eating clean with me when we're out to dinner with friends (seriously so hard), consoling me when I have breakdownS (yes, there were many), to putting up with all of my shenanigans. The list could go on and on.  He has been my cheerleader, support system, my coach, and my rock through this crazy wild ride I've put him through.  He has completely taken the back seat while I've put off other things to pursue my dreams.  With tears streaming down my face, I am eternally grateful for everything he has done for me.  I'm so lucky I get to spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to him.  Like seriously...the tears are out of control right now.  The easiest way to say it, is that I'm so freaking lucky...he's by far, way too good for me.  I'm still pinching myself that he chose me.

When I finally found out I made the team (seriously training camp was an emotional roller-coaster too) I called Sean first, I couldn't wait to tell him.  The directors told us the good news half way through practice (they had some mercy on us).  They gave us a few minutes to call our friends and family, and of course he didn't pick up!  He was playing basketball at the church, I swear I called at least 20 times! He wasn't expecting a call until 10:30 at the earliest, so in his defense it was only 8:30.  We decided the night before that either way we were going to Taco Bell after I got out.  It was either going to be a celebratory cheesey gordita crunch and Mountain Dew kind of night, or eat your feelings until you can't eat anymore experience (don't pretend like you haven't experienced both).  Luckily...we were getting refills on that Dew with a smile on our face.  With all the excitement and happiness I felt, I couldn't help but think I wanted to call and tell my Dad. Everyone was calling their parents after they called their boyfriend/husband/significant other. My Mom was lucky she was even getting a was a group text to her and my brothers.  I held it together at that moment, but lost it on the way home (weird).  It was an emotional night to say the least.  I know if he was here, he would be so proud of me.  I miss him so much...still.

 Side note...they had me change my hair!  I'm a brunette again!
Along with the grueling training camp, we had an interview with the directors during the first week.  They asked me in the interview how I would feel about going brunette.  My response was, "I'll be whatever hair color you want me to be.  Even victory green!"  The assistant director said, "good answer".  I actually had to color my hair half way through training camp, so I was going to be a brunette with or without being an Ice Girl, haha! :)

This girl...besides Sean she was my main motivator and partner in crime.  This is one of my best friends, Liv.  She and I danced on Sidekicks together.  I thank God everyday that he put her in my life, she is just the best.  She is the one who convinced me to try out.  She and I went to dance classes together after work (she works full time too, so we literally feel each others' pain).  We ate clean and dieted together.  Both of us have to work really hard on our bodies.  She helped me so much through this process, and I know I couldn't have done it without her.  As soon as we found out we made the team we hugged each other and just started bawling...bawling happy tears.  We did it, and we did it together!

 Then came the laughs...

 And the cheers...

 And the smiles...

Check us out!!!  My snapchat that night.. :)
Liv kept saying, "I feel like this is a dream...someone pinch me."  I felt the same way!

 The directors told us throughout training camp that they were only able to take 21 girls instead of the 23 they had last year, due to budgeting cuts (which apparently is true, they weren't making that up).  All of us were thinking they were at least going to cut two more girls, so we weren't expecting to find out if we made the team or not that night.  Right before we walked into the locker room they had us do interviews with Channel 4 news.  The directors asked each of us a question about the Dallas Stars, and were told we were being judged on our ability to answer questions in front of the camera, and our knowledge of the team.  We all answered the questions (luckily I got mine correct), and then they told us they were going to show us the team locker room.  We were told not to touch anything and be very quiet, they were doing this as a favor to us.  We walked in the locker room to see this sign and all of the veterans yelling "CONGRATS!" We were all pretty confused...and then caught on, and the tears came!  They're all so sneaky...

Our first team selfie!  I'm sure there will be many more to come!

 I came home the next night after we signed our contracts to these surprises from one of my besties KC, and Sean.  It was seriously so sweet!  Can you tell I look a little thrashed?  To say I was exhausted would be an understatement!

After all the tears, smiles, hugs, and screaming had passed, we were able to grasp what was really happening and take a picture with our new teammates. This was such a happy moment! 

It was such a crazy audition process.  I don't know if I was more emotionally, physically, or mentally exhausted when it was all said and done.  All I know is that it was so worth it in the end.  I am SO BLESSED to have so many friends and family members who have supported me through this journey. I had so many sweet calls, texts, and facebook messages throughout the process.  It helped so much, and really helped me to keep my spirits up.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to dance and skate for the Dallas Stars.  I cannot wait to see what the next year brings for us.  It's going to be a wild ride, but I am completely overjoyed that I was chosen to go along for it.  GO STARS!!!