Who are NFL Cheerleaders?
(this blog is translated from my Japanese old blog)
This might be a silly question for American people. But I think it is worth explaining for those who are not American or who may not be familiar. I also want to share my first impression of NFL cheerleaders when I was lucky to become one myself.
NFL is a professional American football league and one of the four major professional sport leagues in Northern America, along with baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA), and ice hockey (NHL).  I believe MLB baseball is the most popular in Japan, because there’s also a popular professional league and there’s been Japanese players going to play in MLB as early as 1964. NFL, however, has the biggest revenue and attendance out of the all four major professional sport leagues.  There’s yet to be a Japanese national to play in the NFL, although some have come really close to making a team.
Most NFL teams have their own cheerleading squad. Each team has an audition every year in the early spring where 200-400 girls try out and about 30-40 are selected for the squad. In addition to their main duties of cheering and dancing on the sidelines during the football games, the cheerleaders also has many responsibilities as representative of the team at local events. Many cheerleaders are also either attending school as students or have their own careers.
I noticed that being a NFL cheerleader was very similar to being a Santa Claus.
After my years being a cheerleader in Japan, I was very surprised that local men and women of all ages knew about the existence of 49ers cheerleaders and many even by the squad’s name Gold Rush. At games and events, we were a welcomed presence and many asked to take pictures as well as asked for our autographs. Even though these people probably didn’t know our names, they loved our presence… kind of like Santa Claus at a local mall during the holiday season.
Every year, Santa Claus is an old men, wearing a red uniform with a beard. Every year, Gold Rush cheerleader is a girl, wearing a short skirt with pompoms. Even though people may not know exactly who we were inside the costume, everyone loved our presence! This was my first impression when I became a NFL cheerleader.