By MIKE CHAIKEN
Lasondra Greene is a fan of the New England Patriots.
In 2012, Greene was hoping her favorite team, the Pats, were going to the Super Bowl again in January 2013. So, before the season started, the New Britain resident turned to the team’s website to see what the prospects were.
When she got to the home page, the 24-year-old saw an audition notice about becoming a Patriots’ cheerleader.
The notice caught her eye because Greene— who works in a hair salon a stone’s throw from Bristol, Southington, and Plainville— had been cheerleading for nearly her entire life. She started cheering with the New Britain Pop Warner League at age 6. For the next 11 years, Greene kept cheering away.
So, when Greene saw the audition notice, she applied. She subsequently attended the open audition. From there, she was one of the fortunate few who made it to the next round of the selection, which entailed a two week boot camp (that included intense physical work-outs, learning choreography, receiving lessons in how to handle public appearances and interviews). She reached the end of her stay in Foxboro, back in 2012, hoping to become a Patriots’ cheerleader.
But she didn’t make it.
Getting so close that first time, Greene said she decided to try out again for the coming 2013-14 season. Once again, the Nutmegger made it through the open auditions. And she made it through the boot camp.
When boot camp was finished, Greene left Gillette Stadium and came back home to New Britain.
And took a nap.
That was March 30.
In the middle of her nap, the phone rang and woke her up. The call came from a girlfriend she met up at the Foxboro cheerleading boot camp.
Greene’s friend was excited and thrilled. She had made the team.
And she informed Greene… that she had made the team as well.
“It was so surreal,” said Greene.
Just for her own comfort, Greene said she had to confirm her good fortune for herself. She went to the webpage for the Patriots cheerleaders.
And it all was true.
For the 2013-14 season, Greene will be one of the lucky women cheering and performing on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. In all, Greene said she was one of 25 women selected to the squad out of 320 who auditioned. The squad this time includes 13 returning veterans (who have been with the squad for up to four years) and 12 rookies such as herself. “It’s a good combination,” said Greene of the mix of vets and newbies. Now, she has the responsibility of commuting between New Britain and Foxboro on weekdays and weekends for training and then game days.
As a member of the Patriots’ family, Greene joins a couple of other familiar Nutmeg faces at Foxboro. She was excited about the opportunity to be part of the Pats’ Connecticut contingent, which includes Bristol’s Aaron Hernandez and Plainville’s Niko Koutouvides.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Greene of representing the New England NFL franchise. She said she always feels a bit of pride on her drives up to Massachussetts and sees the bumper stickers touting the Patriots, knowing now she’s part of that celebrated organization.
Greene said she is still trying to get a grip on the reality of her situation as a member of the Pats’ cheerleaders.
Asked how she thinks she will feel when she finally steps out on to the field at Gillette for her first appearance as a cheerleader when the team faces the Tampa Bay Bucccaneers in a preseason match up. “I’ll be in a bit of a shock (at first)… that it’s really going to happen,” said Greene knowing that she is stepping in front of a stadium full of fans as well as a national audience. But she knew given a moment or two, she’ll settle right in nicely.
Before there is football, however, Greene said she will be busy with the Pats off the field. She will be making appearances across the region. And from June 6 to 13, she is off to St. Lucia with the other cheerleaders where they will shoot the official Patriots’ cheerleaders’ calendar.
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN