One my favorite things about being a member of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni Association (WRCAA) is that every couple of years, we old ladies get invited to dance with the young ladies in a Redskins half-time show. Ah… a chance to relive the past, just for a little while.

Practices are usually held Friday evening and sometimes Saturday, before a Sunday game. We learn the whole show – just like that.

It’s an emotional weekend for me. Fondly reconnecting with old friends, nervously learning a new dance routine, and the pure exhilaration of performing for 90,000 people exhausts me in a quite satisfying way. Caught in the middle-age bracket, somewhere between mature-looking faces and perky young boobs, I am keenly aware of my aging body and simultaneously grateful for it.

I recall those younger, cellulite-free days with bittersweet feelings. I loathed my body at the time. I thought my thighs were too big and my breasts were too small. I thought it surely was a mistake that I ever made the squad at all, and that one day, someone would apologize to me and send me on my way. But I adored the limelight – I got such a rush from the roaring stands as we ran onto the sidelines, and I shook my ass and danced my heart out, feeling so incredibly lucky to be doing the thing I loved most in the world for such an excited crowd.

It was surreal.

Still, today, I feel all of those things when we walk through the tunnel and take our places on the field. I feel so special – and so completely insignificant – all at the same time.

Last September, we did our thing at the Redskins vs. Rams game. Practice was organized – we wore matching outfits and were told to come with full hair and makeup. 150 beautiful women (inside and out) joined together as sisters to dance together another time. Electricity surged through me as I hugged familiar faces and felt the thrilling privilege of holding those burgundy and gold pom-poms again.

Once everyone had arrived, we were told to complete a release form that gave our permission to be filmed for television and that bound us to confidentiality regarding the fact that Bravo was there to shoot for the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of DC. So exciting!

The girl they focused on was in a younger group than mine. She had long, bleached blonde hair that blended in with the crowd. Since none of us personally knows every single person who cheered before or after us, I had no reason to believe that she didn’t belong there. I was too busy focusing on my own routine to notice that she was struggling with hers.

Following the show, reporters began to solicit some of us to see if we remembered cheering with this person. I did not. It seems no one did.

This week, the episode aired on Bravo. The story on the street is that the real housewife is a fake.

If they want a true dose of dramatic reality, they should create a show called The Real Housewives of Alcoholics. Now that’s entertainment – and they wouldn’t have to make shit up.

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