GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – It was a trip down memory lane for former cheerleaders of the Green Bay Packers back in the 1970’s and 1980’s after reconnecting on social media after many years.
From 1978 to 1986, the Packers cheerleaders lined Lambeau Field cheering on the Packers every Sunday, but before you were waving the pom poms – there were try outs.
Nearly 200 girls, and even some guys, tried out to become one of the cheerleaders for the green and gold each year. Former cheerleaders expressed how stressful and intimidating it could be with so many other’s competing for a spot in front of a panel of five judges and just over 30 participants making it.
“The Judges got together and posted numbers in the hall way and you looked for your number”, said the group. Many of them still have their number.
After they saw their name saying they made the cheerleading team, stepping onto Lambeau Field for the first time was an amazing experience and even years later – it gives them goosebumps just thinking about it.
Throughout the season, the cheerleaders would even take a bus and go down to Milwaukee when Green Bay played at County Stadium.
Every single game was a different routine. So each week, the group practiced for hours to make sure they had their routines down for gameday. If their instructor, Shirley Van, didn’t feel good about the way the group practiced during the week, Shirley made sure to call for a Saturday practice.
While Lambeau Field is often called the ‘Frozen Tundra’ for a reason, those cold months proved why. As the temperatures got colder and the cheerleaders formed friendships with the Packers, they helped them out with acts of kindness. One act? John Brockington gave every single cheerleader a fur coat to wear so they wouldn’t freeze in the winter months on the sidelines.
Many recalled being proud of their cheerleading career as they had many family members come to Lambeau Field to see them on the field doing what they loved.
When the Packers’ cheerleaders were discontinued after the 1986 season, many lost contact with one another. It wasn’t until nearly 30 years later, they would reunite – thanks to Facebook.
“Our group, itself, calls each other cheer sisters. We have this comradery and love”, said the group. “We were thrilled to find each other again. Many of us had tears because we had thought about each other for all of those years. We didn’t know how to connect but the power of social media. The love and sisterhood was still there and it was just amazing.”
Now the Packers Cheerleader Alumni group, with more than 60 members, has gotten together many times in recent years. The group has been recognized by the NFL for their efforts with the Packers organization and much more.
Reconnecting with one another, after so many years, has been emotional and it brings them back to their days on the sidelines at Lambeau Field cheering on the Packers. The bond the group shares is something that goes well beyond 1265 Lombardi Avenue.