DCC Alumni Spotlight – Melissa Sullivan Morrison
It was the summer of 1995 when Melissa Sullivan heard an advertisement for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders auditions on Kiss FM radio station. That year, DCC finals were to be held on her birthday. Melissa saw this as a sign to go for the audition! She soon discovered that two other women were celebrating their birthdays at DCC’s 1995 finals. Besides birthdates, what else did these women have in common? All three of them made the 1995 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders squad! Quite a memorable celebration to kick off a winning season! Upon making the team, Melissa understood this would be a challenging season. Every rookie season comes with its own set of challenges: add in a two-year-old daughter, full-time job, and a Super Bowl bound Dallas Cowboys football team, and it is safe to say that Melissa had a very full plate!
The biggest challenge Melissa faced while cheering was time management. She sacrificed all of her free time to be able to pursue her dreams. Between her family, full-time job, and DCC rehearsals, there was no other option but to adapt to the demanding schedules. She found this to be especially true when the team started preparing for the Cowboys trip to Super Bowl XXX. Texas Stadium often was completely booked during the day, therefore the DCC would hold rehearsals late at night. The team would make the most of their rehearsals, performing until every dance was perfect, regardless of how late into the night they had to work. Melissa looks back at these challenging rehearsals and appreciates all the effort put in by her teammates and DCC staff. In the end, all those rehearsals paid off! Melissa’s most memorable DCC experience was the entirety of Super Bowl XXX. The team flew out to Tempe, Arizona for five days full of appearances, performances, festivities, and finally the big game. Sun Devil Stadium was filled with an overwhelming amount of electric energy fueling Melissa’s performance. During the signature DCC kick line, Melissa recalled kicking with so much energy that she managed to kick her own forehead! The game flew by, before she knew it the Cowboys had won Super Bowl XXX! An experience that will never be topped in Melissa’s eyes. She acknowledged it was never easy, but upon retirement and looking back at your DCC career, you don’t remember the challenging times. You don’t remember the late nights or the long hours. You remember the teammates who never failed to make you smile and the experiences that always sparked joy!
One of the many DCC Melissa looked up to while she cheered was Tina Miller Kalina. Melissa admired how genuine, bright, and happy Tina was with every person she met. The most valuable piece of advice Melissa received was from Director, Kelli Finglass. Kelli would tell the DCC to, “Demand yourselves to be your best.” Melissa described Kelli as a savvy business woman with big dreams for the organization. She always felt motivated and inspired when Kelli was around. She felt similarly about Judy Trammell, the DCC choreographer. Melissa loved Judy’s commitment to excellence along with her empathy. Melissa’s advice to dancers heading into their rookie season is, “Get out of your head! You are the only thing holding you back! Do not overthink it or compare yourself to anyone else. Start each rehearsal off positive and tell yourself that you are becoming a DCC.” As for those heading into their final season, Melissa says to soak it all in. Relish in every little moment, because you will never get to do this again. Lessons the DCC organization taught Melissa, which have transcended into every aspect of her life were: to always be her best, take pride in herself and her work, spread light and joy, and to make others feel loved! In light of recent events, Melissa finds herself applying these uplifting sentiments every single day.