REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Week – Calendar Release

We wrap up our series profiling the Ottawa REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance Team with a look at the tean calendar.

Photos by Jordyn P. and Gord Webber

This has been a pretty good time to be an Ottawa REDBLACKS Cheer and Dance member. Not only have the REDBLACKS won two games this past week, three in a row but they also had their Calendar release this past Wednesday evening. With Casino Lac Lemay as a backdrop many members of R-Nation came out for the event. This is the second year in a row that this event has been held but the fourth year in a row the team has had a calendar. All of the cheer teams have them. The proceeds help offset costs of the season.

This year’s calendar is particularly wonderful as it has many of the members, in uniform, across the city in front of landmarks like Parliament Hill, etc.

At the calendar release, the crowd that included fans of all ages were able to meet and mingle with members of the Cheer and Dance team and coaches.

It was somewhat of a family affair as Laviotette Flowers decorated the room. (The business is owned by the family of this year’s cover girl, Jenny)

We spoke to the Director of the team Lisa Aucoin about the calendar. “Our team members are volunteers and fundraising minimizes their out-of-pocket expenses.  This year the Grey Cup is taking place right here in Ottawa but we will still have some costs associated with the weekend.  We are doing some fun extras to welcome the other teams to our great city along with some special plans to commemorate our 1st Grey Cup festival at home! “

A question that comes up is ‘why would you want to buy a calendar?’ and the answer for me is simple; to support the team. Over the past several days we have had the opportunity of speaking to members past and present and one common denominator is their passion for what they do and what they do is support our city. Being a member of this team goes way beyond what we see on the field on game days. It includes intense training, practices that go late into night to make their routines seem effortless, countless hours of community activities that support a range of good causes and overall being a positive force within the community.

As someone who has supported this league, since I was a child I have a ton of respect for what they do. It is always easy to sit back and think ‘it’s no big deal’ or to blow it off but consider this, they are the only ones at a game who are always smiling. Think about it, coaches can get mad, players can get mad but the cheerleaders are always bringing the positivity.

I am also impressed at how this team empowers women. The coaches are all women and many were on the team before. Riley, a third year vet on the team, started, as many do, very shy but it isn’t uncommon to find her teaching the dance team new routines at practices. When asked about it she said, “It’s nice to be taking more of a leadership role. The team has come so far and we have grown so much as a team.”

For Kela, a first year dance team member who joined the team after moving in from Vancouver, one of her favourite aspect is the younger members of R-Nation, ‘I love love love meeting the kids. Best part of the game for me is when the little kids come running up for pictures or to show you their cartwheels.”

So, should you buy a calendar to support this team? Well considering everything they do for our community, you might want to buy two!