DCC Alumni Spotlight – Alona Wood Moore
I had the honor of speaking with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader alumna, Alona Wood Moore, and we connected in so many special ways. Alona was an accomplished cheerleader, and enjoyed her years on the team from 1986-1990. She was honest and open about her time as a DCC. She spoke about the importance of gratitude and her appreciation for such a wonderful organization. Today, she lives in Texas and works in real estate, in addition to being a mom to two children.
Alona hadn’t always dreamed of being a DCC. Her family had always been big Cowboys fans and went to several games, but she didn’t strongly consider auditioning to cheer for the team herself. One of her best friends, a former cheerleader, tried out before Alona and convinced her to do it because of how much fun she had. Alona had dance training from her high school drill team, but when she got to the audition, saw the talent and met all of the awesome women in the room, she quickly realized that this was now something that she really wanted. Fortunately, her hard work, talent and spunk took her all the way to finals, training camp, and onto the team on her first try auditioning! Although, she made the team, she said training camp was difficult-“Every night you think, ‘Okay, is tonight my last night, do you like what I’m doing?’” Sometimes Suzanne, the Director at the time, would have all the rookie candidates in a long line and call each girl out one at a time to tell them if they were cut that night. It was an intense process, but she found so much joy in being surrounded by so many amazing women, who became some of her very best friends to this day.
Alona light-heartedly says that she learned so many things the hard way. She had just graduated high school when she made the team, and was enrolled in college classes in addition to performing. So looking back, she knew she had a lot of growth ahead of her. She told me a story about her very first football game as a rookie, which was at Wembley Stadium in London (an exhibition game between the Cowboys and the Bears). She was so excited for the opportunity and couldn’t wait to get there. The cheerleaders always had very specific instructions when traveling, and it’s important to read every line of information, so you don’t miss anything. At the time, the cheerleaders had matching blue travel luggage, and when Alona arrived to the airport, she checked her bags curbside. After checking in, she met everyone upstairs only to see a big mound of matching blue luggage-her stomach sank! She went up to Suzanne and nervously said, “Um, I checked my luggage downstairs,” and Suzanne replied, “Well you better go get it!” Alona ran in her heels down the stairs back to the check-in and begged the personnel to get her luggage. “Oh my gosh please, can you please get my luggage… I know I just checked it and it’s gone, but can somebody go get it,” she said, panicking at the time, but laughing looking back on it. They couldn’t get it back for her, so she had to go back up and tell Suzanne, who replied, “Well you better just hope it’s there when we land.” Of course, Alona worried the whole way to London, but when they landed her blue bag was the first one to come off the plane! She was so relieved, and had such a blast getting to perform at the game. She said, “the fans’ energy in that stadium was electrifying,” and it’s something she’ll never forget.
Alona had so many incredible experiences during her time on the team. One of her favorite opportunities was getting to perform on USO tours. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done in my entire life… It was really educational.” She got to see parts of the world that a lot of people will never see in their lifetime, and developed a new love and appreciation for our country and the men and women who protect it. The troops just thought that everything the cheerleaders did was great, and the girls had so much fun putting smiles on their faces. “It’s hard to understand how good we have it here when you’re young… The places we would go, we would see true poverty with our own eyes.” Alona felt so patriotic when she came back because she was so grateful of our freedom here in America.
Home game days were always so much fun for Alona and her teammates. Her favorite part about game day was gathering in a circle and saying the Lord’s Prayer before hitting the field. She really misses getting to go into the stands and interact with little kids after the pregame routine. The cheerleaders used to each bring a child down to the field from the audience to stand with DCC when they cheered the team on as they entered the field. “It was so much fun for those kids… they would all run up trying to get taken down to the field and were so excited.” When asked about who she looked up to most on the team, she said Kelli McGonagill Finglass. She always thought that Kelli was so perfect and never messed up. Being a seasoned veteran at the time, Kelli had a huge impact on her teammates and the rookies, like Alona. Alona was not only a member of Show Group for three years, but she was also a group leader and got to be the point girl once! Once out of four years she got to lead everyone out of the tunnel and be the point-“It’s not like the cheerleaders do it now where one or two people do it the whole time. I got to do it once.” It was kind of a scary moment for her to be the very first one out of the tunnel and onto the field, but so exhilarating getting to lead everyone -“It just gives me chills thinking back on that.” Another very special memory for her was receiving her DCC pinky ring rookies earn after being on the team for a full year, which is still a tradition today. Anytime she looks at her ring, it reminds her of how hard she worked to earn it. “I get teary eyed knowing the blood, sweat, and tears that went into chasing this dream.”
Alona grew up more in her four years as a DCC than she ever thought she could. She is so thankful for her experiences and misses dancing and performing. But most of all, she misses seeing all of her friends every night at practices. She is still close with many of her teammates today and loves getting back together with everyone at alumni events. “When we do have the alumni things, it just takes you right back.” They always love reminiscing together and talking about all of the old memories they made as teammates. “You are really all each other has… No one fully understands what you are going through except each other.” Alona’s biggest advice for all of us on the team today is to be truly grateful for every opportunity we are given, and have an ‘expect nothing, appreciate everything’ mindset. It is easy to start taking things for granted when you’re caught up in life, but it’s so important to always be humble and kind to one another.
Alona spoke from her heart in her words of advice for anyone who has the experience of being a DCC: “You are a public servant and people look up to you even when you’re not in uniform. Now that you’re a DCC, you always will be. Represent yourself with appreciation from here on out because when you are in your 50s, people are going to look at you and say, ‘She was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader,’ and they are going to look at you differently, so you have to be appreciative. People watch you even when you don’t think they are… No one is perfect, but always be grateful”.
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