“If I didn`t do it now, I probably would never do it,” rookie hopeful Carissa K. said.
Putting priority on education and her growing family led Carissa to long delay her dream of adding NFL Cheerleader in addition to her titles as mom, wife, coach and student.
“I have a 4-year-old daughter. Her name is Elsie, a 2-year-old daughter named Emorie and a 6-month-old son and his name is Ezekiel,” Carissa said proudly.
Juggling three kids and a part-time job as a cheer coach, as well as wrapping up her master’s degree meant Carissa had to get creative preparing for auditions.
“I work out at home, it just doesn`t fit in my schedule to go to a gym with the three kids so you see me a lot working out with the kids around me or just when they`re sleeping,” Carissa explained. “I attended the master workshop back in February so I had the schedule tentative so I started preparing for it then because I knew it would take a large toll on our family. My husband works shift hours so I just coordinated with his shift schedule and then my mom is able to help out as well and my grandma so luckily I have a lot of support and a lot of help in that aspect.”
Cheer and dance have long been a family affair. Carissa hopes to follow in her mom’s booted footsteps.
“My mom was a Colts Cheerleader she did it in 1989 her first year and then she did it again after she had me and my brothers,” she explained. “So we are very similar in that she had three kids, I have three kids and she continued to do it for three or four years I believe. It`s really neat to come full circle and have that experience with her even growing up. I remember the convention center very well and the RCA Dome. I remember standing behind the big doors waiting for them to open and as soon as they did it was the brightest lights ever and just running out onto the field and just having fun, I was little, probably started when I was about four years old.”
Having walked five seasons in those boots herself, Carissa’s mom Christy called on her own experience to help prepare for auditions.
“Well we have talked about it off and on throughout the years but we just fully prepared for it, so we have been talking about it and she`s been working out and brushing up on her dance skills,” Christy Beeler-Rose who cheered 1989, then 1997 through 2000. “She just doesn`t want to regret that she never tried to do it because I believe that she has all the elements, she`s in shape and she loves to dance and perform and she wants to do something for herself and cheer for the community.”
Doing something for herself in the form of pursuing a passion for dance is something Carissa believes makes her a better mom.
“It`s definitely an outlet,” Carissa said. “I coach part-time and I don`t work full-time so staying at home with the kids is exhausting some days and so being able to go out and go to these practices, you come home and you`re just a better person you know you`re surrounded by women that are successful and want to see you succeed and I just come home a better mom. I`m able to put on a different hat when I leave and come home and enjoy my time with them a little bit more, get those hours needed away for a bit and then just enjoy them.”
And after admiring her mom on the sidelines when she was a child, Carissa hopes to be that same role model for her kids.
“My motivation is my family just to make them proud, show them that they can do anything, especially my girls. They`re young now, but one day they`ll be able to look back and say, ‘Wow, Mom juggled all these different hats and she really went for something that she`s dreamt of for a really long time.’”