Photo by: Skylar Campbell
Kicking and Screaming: Welcome to the day in the life of a Silvie
December 3, 2014
On Friday night around 8:00 p.m., the players jog off and the show starts. The field remains empty for just a moment until the faint cry of a whistle surfaces, followed by the light trot of field boots. They sparkle, twirl, kick and without missing a beat. The shimmering reflection of a smile as far as those inside the press box can see stretches across the faces of the girls decked out in blue.
Embodying the grace and technique of trained dancers and the persistence and dedication of army cadets, this select group of girls rises as one of of the most involved on campus. But little do onlookers know of the journey that takes place in getting from the 6:00 a.m. weekly practices to the well-lit stadium. Welcome to the day in the life of a Silvie.
MONDAY: “The key to performing is projection.”
4:50 a.m. The alarm goes off. Senior Colonel Rachel Johnson wakes up and by 5:45 a.m. she arrives to the school parking lot. By 6:00 a.m. practice starts, directors Christy Groschke and Ryan Garcia give instructions in the high tower, and the girls stand in formation while Johnson makes sure everyone stays in line.
“It’s pretty awesome because I get to lead the team and I think that’s a pretty cool learning experience,” Johnson said. “Ever since I was younger and went to the games and watched Silvies perform; I knew I always wanted to be a Silvie.”
Armed with a whistle and confidence, Johnson leads the team on the field to perform a half time show hours of practice and motivation created.
“The key to performing is projection so we always make sure we are looking at the top of the stadium so that they see our faces instead of our heads and our smiles,” Johnson said.
TUESDAY: “You just have to make sure you leave your problems at the door for your team and for your directors.”
After hitting the pavement of the parking lot morning after morning, senior Lieutenant Colonel Amy Weinberg starts her day.
“You definitely have to be very dedicated because we have practices every day and football games every week,” she said. “You have to be very hardworking, especially with those morning practices because it can be a little rough.”
Though Weinberg noted balancing both a rigorous course load and carving out eight hours a week for practice challenges time, Silvies remains a labor of love she fully commits to.
“You really just have to give it your all and even if you have an off day,” she said. “You just have to make sure you leave your problems at the door for your team and for your directors.”
Years of dance earned Weinberg a spot on Silvies and allowed her to sustain a legacy for generations to come.
“Well, I’ve been taking dance classes since I was four and the whole time I wanted to be a Silvie once I got to high school,” Weinberg said. “Freshman year was crazy. I had been watching the Silvies for forever and it was crazy thinking I was one of them.”
WEDNESDAY: “It’s like a sisterhood, so you have to be there for your sisters.”
Waking up early. Driving to school. Getting ready for practice. Sitting in the locker room for for roll call. Senior Captain Tessa Bloomberg moves to a beat when it comes to her life as a Silvie.
“I get to school by 5:45 and I wait until 5:50 for them to open the doors,” she said. “We have practice and we move gyms because we always get kicked out of a gym, then we go to the cafeteria.”
The beat continues. Bloomberg easily relives the pace and intensity of morning practices.
“You’re in your formation depending on what formation your directors want you to be in there,” she said. “Usually up on the top tower. You’re standing around a whole bunch of girls and they tell you ‘Okay, this is what we want you to do and you do it.’ And you typically run in through music a couple times and the ground is marked off so you always know where to be and what to be doing so there are always clear cut instructions.”
As captain, Bloomberg treats Silvies as a top priority in her schedule.
“You have to have passion and be really dedicated,” she said. “It’s like a sisterhood, so you have to be there for your sisters.”
THURSDAY: “[Silvies] must be extremely hard working and passionate about what they do and they must love it a lot.”
As football season gradually meets an end, senior Lieutenant Colonel Blakely Hill said in order to have success on the field, Silvies must constantly smile and never let their nerves show.
“It’s really fun, except you’re kind of nervous before you perform,” Hill said. “There are a lot of people and you just don’t want to mess up or forget. Just try to have fun with [the crowd] and be excited to be in front of an audience and share what you want to do.”
After years of dance and dedication to her sport, Hill received her officer position her sophomore year.
“I was always attending things, and I also got a lot of merits,” she said. “I wanted to be a Silvie since I started watching them in kindergarten, I went to Silvie Clinic that year.”
After three years as a Silvie, Hill said her favorite memories were on the field.
“The most memorable moment is performing during halftime and being an officer and getting to do championship,” she said.
FRIDAY: “We pray and make sure no one gets hurt. We pray everything goes smoothly.”
Gameday jitters fill the dance room to the brim and once again as 8:00 p.m. rolls around. Show time.
“We circle up before getting on the field and we pray and make sure no one gets hurt. We pray everything goes smoothly,” Bloomberg said. “Our main priority is that no one gets hurt.”
They hear the applause, they see everyone who showed up to see them and the players put on Friday night’s finest performance.
“It’s amazing. You see the lights, you see the crowd,” Weinberg said. “You know you’re walking out with 60 of your best friends, and you know that everyone there is just so proud of you. It’s really cool.”
Hard work and dedication got them here, and now the Silvies deliver a performance celebrating the positive qualities and spirit they bring every day.
“Silvies has taught me dedication overall, because you have to be willing to smile and give it your all,” Weinberg said. “ It was just a really proud moment to be there with my team and to feel like I was really part of something.”