REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Week – Alumni

Every day this week Ottawa Life will be profiling the Ottawa REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Team. Articles will feature spotlights on team vets,captains and rookies but today we take a look at the alumni.

Feature photo by Andre Gagne

When a member of the REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Team no longer performs they become alumni. They will forever be a member of the team as they will share a bond with their teammates forever but they just won’t be on the sidelines anymore. In my time working with the REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Team I have had the pleasure of meeting many amazing people. Two outstanding members of the Alumni are Brittany and Alex. One went into medicine as a doctor and the other is serving our country as part of the Canadian Armed Forces. To say I am proud to know these two remarkable people would be a huge understatement. They each went through auditions, practices, multiple games and community events and now are making R-Nation extremely proud. I recently had the chance to catch up with them.

Photo by Gord Webber

What is your current occupation?

Brittany: I'm a Resident Physician in General Surgery

Alex: I’m a Medical Technician in the Military.

What was your experience on the cheer and dance team like?

Brittany: I absolutely loved my time on the team. I met a ton of great people and felt like I was part of a big family. Participating in community events, and getting to know R-Nation, especially the young fans, was so rewarding.

Alex: It was life changing. It was out of my comfort zone and forced me challenge myself a lot. Learning how to present myself in front of people, appearance wise, and really committing to a team. Learning leadership roles and improving my skills. I was able to meet a lot of interesting people in the community and it made me a more well-rounded person.

What do you miss most?

Brittany: I miss the Game Days the most! Everything about the Game Day experience is so much fun – spending time together as a team, showcasing what we've practiced under the bright stadium lights, and getting fans pumped up. It's just magical!

Alex: The family feeling we had with the team. Through the ups and downs we grew closer as a team. I miss going to practice and seeing everyone and the overall team spirit.

Would you do it again?

Brittany: I would 100% do it again. I've been dancing my whole life, and nothing compares to that exhilarating feeling of performing in front of thousands of people on Game Days.

Alex: 100%. There is nothing I regret at all.

What advice do you give to those following in your footsteps?

Brittany: Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even if they seem unconventional. I worried that the doctors I work with would judge me for cheerleading, and all of the inaccurate stereotypes that come along with it. But really I’ve found that there’s a lot of respect to be gained for pursuing your passion, whatever it might be!

Photo by Gord Webber

Alex: My first piece of advice would to fight for the team. The point is to stay humble and be there for your teammates. Stay selfless and stay humble. Don’t be there for yourself, be there for the uniform and the people on the team.

How did your time on the team help you achieve your goals?

Brittany: Balancing REDBLACKS Cheer with medical school was definitely a challenge, with lots of long days, multi-tasking, and 'triaging' things on my to-do list. As a result, I learned a ton about time management. Those skills help me succeed in my day-to-day work.

Alex: In basic training we learn parade skills similar doing drills lie standing at attention and certain movements so it’s similar to mini-choreography. You have to remember counts and what moves are coming next and those are all things you do on a cheer team. The second thing was respecting your commitments. If you are going to do something then you make sure you are responsible and commit to doing it 100%. Developing teamwork skills also helped me in the military. You are as strong as your weakest link so you always work towards helping people. There are so many things that relate between the two. I just traded in one uniform for another.

What’s your favourite movie?

Brittany: All the Harry Potter movies … please don't make me pick just one!

Alex: Tombstone

Thank you both so much.

Brittany: Thank you

Alex: Thanks Keith