The Fine Art of Timing

The box from Kelli Finglass, Director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, arrived at the perfect time.

Megan Sharp and Sarah Gourley
Megan Sharp and Sarah Gourley

It had been a few months since she posted to my blog, and out of nowhere on Monday, April 19 a surprise package arrived.  It was beautifully assembled by Brooke Wicker Alexander, Event Coordinator for Kelli Finglass and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  I need to sidetrack and say Brooke’s story is inspiring in and of itself:  a cheerleader wanna-be, Brooke tried out for the junior high squad.  She couldn’t jump, couldn’t split, and described her efforts as a ‘total joke.’  Her tenacious spirit led her to make the drill team at high school level, and she eventually learned to jump, split, and kick her way to her DCC dream.   She wore the uniform for four years (1992-1996).

The box was exquisitely packaged.  Maybe because all things DCC are done with excellence…and maybe because Brooke took extra loving care for the box for this grieving mom.  While Brooke and I haven’t shared cheerleading experience, we have shared grief from the consequences of cancer.  Twenty years ago, just days before her 18th birthday, Brooke lost her precious mother to cancer.

I carefully sliced open the box.  It’s been 39 years since my first disastrous cheerleading try-out….and after all these years, there they were.

Pom Poms

Oh yes…read it and weep.  Not just any old, skanky party pom poms.  Official DCC Junior cheerleader pom poms.  Blue.  Silver.  Hot Pink.  And might I add, ‘not available for sale’, a DCC branded exclusive.  My very first gut reaction was to choke back tears.  How did Kelli know?

I’ve always wanted these.

I continued to pour over the treasure chest of all things DCC…the calendars signed by each individual cheerleader, two of Jay’s workout videos, the pink DCC backpack (Oh yes……it’s mine, mine, all mine), the car decal, the pewter helmet paper clip, and did I mention

Pom Poms

I carefully hoarded the treasure box on my executive desk.  BFF Robin Lindley, a top designer for the Interior Design Firm in Omaha, dropped by.  Assuming that Robin had washed her hands, I let her touch the sacred pom poms so she could show me a few moves.  Now, Robin has never been a cheerleader, but she learned a thing or two from her daughter Emily.  So, she showed me how you shake the pom poms really fast up by your face.  I asked her if the move had an official name and I think Robin’s response was ‘shaking-the-pom-poms-really-fast-up-by-your-face.’  We roared with laughter, imagining that at any minute Judy Trammell, Choreographer for the DCC, was going to call wanting a few tips for new DCC routines (as creative thinkers, Robin and I live in a completely imaginary world).

It was the next day, April 20, that Alexandra Hurd of Cure Media (also a beautiful Dallas girl!) called to let me know I was one of three finalists for  CureToday Extraordinary Healer Award Contest for an essay I wrote to honor Megan’s chemo nurse, Dorothy Wahrman.  Alexandra asked me, “How do you feel about going to San Diego?” and I cried and squealed with joy at the very thought of publicly cheering on Dorothy in a national arena.

The perfect timing of the pom poms and the Cheerleader-In-A-Box should be no surprise.  After all, Kelli Finglass, along with Judy Trammell, have built a team of world-renowned cheerleaders based on the art of timing.  Well, they are really beautiful, too.   All one needs to do is watch The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – Making the Team to know that a repeated series of slightly off movements sends up the penalty flag and a DCC cheerleader hopeful is in sudden jeopardy of going down.  In contrast, thirty-six DCC cheerleaders can storm the field at Cowboys Stadium and command the attention of 80,000 fans.  On a giant-size field, that’s more than beauty…but precise coordination and timing that mesmerizes a crowd.

The big event finally arrived.  On Thursday evening, May 13, 2010 I entered the ballroom at the San Diego Marriott Resort and Marina for the 35th Annual Congress for Oncology Nurses.  As 900 chairs were being set up for professionals from around the country, I could feel my stomach churn up into my throat.  (Is there a nurse in the house?  Some Tums?)  My thoughts raced as I knew that in a matter of about an hour I would not be talking to empty chairs but to women and men that are the lifeline to ordinary people at all stages of cancer.  Oncology nurses from places like MD Anderson…Mayo Clinic… I considered more Tums.

Kelli, with her patented precision timing, must have sensed I was just about to make the Cheerleading Squad for Oncology Nurses across America and sent the glorious box.  As the media lights flashed on my bewildered face, and my voice wavered as I read 1,000 words about Dorothy Wahrman, such an extraordinary woman, I realized I was also thanking all the oncology professionals in the room that helped and are helping someone’s mother, sister, wife, brother, father, or friend in the journey through cancer.

I didn’t get many things I wanted in life.  No mom wants to lose a daughter.  But I did get the pure joy of hearing Maggie A. Smith, Clinical Science Liaison for Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., announce that the 2010 winner of the Extraordinary Healer Award from the essay written by

Valerie Bosselman

is Dorothy Wahrman.   Dorothy Wahrman got herself a beautiful trophy – a trip to Lakeway Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, and national recognition for all the amazing things she did for my girl, Megan Bosselman, while nobody was watching.

In addition, Valerie Bosselman, the girl who never made cheerleading, and was told by a college professor that she was the worst writer he had ever encountered, got herself some

Pom Poms

Key Notes:

On A Lighter Note:

  • Sorry, Kelli Finglass, I couldn’t make DCC tryouts this weekend, with my official DCC Junior Pom Poms.  I was flying back from San Diego.
  • Judy Trammell, BFF Robin and I are available for special choreography consultation.  Our fees include accommodations in a luxury suite at Cowboys Stadium.

Category: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - Making the Team



  1. Sheri Lee, for my old junior high pal, I’ll definitely bring the pom poms. Did I mention I’ll be bringing them in my official DCC pink back pack?

    If you wash your hands with that really good soap in the chemo lab, I’ll let you touch the backpack, too!

    Thank you for caring for my mom and dad as they have made their journey to become cancer survivors. And thank you for surviving 39 years as my dear friend!


  2. Val….I am so jealous of those pom poms! If I wash and sanitize my hands will you bring them up to the clinic and let me “shake the pom poms really fast by my face” routine?! I love you! Congrats to you and Dorothy (fyi i used to work with her at Methodist.) Sheri

  3. I am so happy for you! You rock and I know Megan is SOOOO proud (and a bit jealous of the pom-poms)!!! Keep on keeping on. You do it with such grace- XO

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain

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