Hello, Colts Nation! My name is Leslie Ann and not only am I ready for a fun-filled Thanksgiving, but I am ecstatic to be your Cheerleader of the Week!
This is my first year as an Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader and all I have to say is "pinch me, I'm still dreaming"! This experience is not only a dream of mine, but it's a blessing in disguise as well. I am constantly surrounded by ambitious, inspiring and talented women who are so encouraging week after week and day after day. I have always been a part of a team and let me just say, this is one of the best teams I have been a part of not only because of my amazing teammates but because of the loving and dedicated Colts fans and community. Indianapolis is such an amazing city that is constantly growing and I am so blessed to be a part of it.
Growing up I played numerous sports and even continued to do so in college at the wonderful Indiana State University, GO SYCAMORES! After college, I did not want to stop dancing so I took the next step, tried out for Colts Cheerleading and here I am, halfway through my Rookie season and loving every single second of it. Shortly after making the 2015-2016 squad, I graduated Indiana State, packed my bags (and two cats) and moved to Broad Ripple with 3 of my other amazing cheer sisters. I am also a trainer at our wonderful sponsor Core Pilates and Fitness and I absolutely love what I do; whipping people into shape and encouraging good health. Fitness is a huge part of my life that not only keeps me motivated and working hard but it makes my dance career that much easier on my body which I will be thankful for in years to come.
I would love to thank my huge, supportive family for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams as well as the amazing Sullivan County for always showing hometown love! I would also love to thank all of my past sports coaches for pushing me, especially Indiana State's very own Tammy Schaffer. Thank you Tammy for believing in this dream of mine and being there not only as a coach but a wonderful friend, mentor and for always having my back when I needed help. Last but certainly not least, I would love to thank the Colts Organization, Colts fans, sponsors and my Colts Cheer Sisters as well as Coach Kelly; I have felt so much love and support from all of you in this season and I want you to know how deeply appreciated you all are!
You were the last cheerleader to shoot for the Colts Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar! What was going through your mind at this time?
First off, I was in paradise in the amazing Cancun, Mexico so it was a comfortable environment to relax in, especially since hot weather is my favorite. Secondly, I was very nervous because it was my first time out of the country and first time doing a swimsuit shoot! Although I could not dive right in to all of the wonderful desserts our resort had to offer, my cheer sisters gave me great advice as well as Matt Bowen and the entire staff; they all made me feel very in my element and made the shoot a fun experience! I was anxious at first but was happy to hear those words, "It's a Wrap"!
You're obsessed with older houses. What about them do you love most?
Yes! I grew up and was raised in an old farm house that was built in the late 1800's. It's one of those houses that first had horse hair as insulation and if the pool, washer, dryer and AC was all running then it would blow a fuse and we would have to run down to the local hardware store to buy more for the power to turn back on. My mom has a huge influence on my love for older houses; we would always take bike rides and trips even to old historical houses and I fell in love with the architecture, old stair cases, the history/stories of who lived there and even the smell of older houses. History was my favorite subject growing up and I can definitely tell you I will reside in a colonial house that has an intriguing history behind it.
As a rookie, what has been the highlight of your professional NFL cheerleading career thus far?
I would have to say every single second I am with my teammates or wearing my uniform. When you work really hard for something that has been a goal of yours for a long time, you learn to be thankful for every part of it when you accomplish that goal. Every practice my teammates are so encouraging and positive, the outreaches and appearances make me feel like a super hero when I see a fan's face light up over an autograph or picture; on game day, from the tunnel, to the whole crowd singing the National Anthem, and from performing in front of thousands, to praying after the game with my team, win or lose. I am trying to bottle up as much as possible so I can remember the memories not only this year but in many years to come.
How do you plan on spending your Thanksgiving holiday this week? Black Friday Shopping? Cooking with your family?
I plan on spending as much time as possible with my family, friends, dogs and cats back home. Every year since I can remember, my family goes to Bloomington to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents as well as my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have a huge family so I plan on it being loud, crazy and tons of food! As for Black Friday Shopping, I have never been and I am not sure I ever want to endure the crazy crowds. I typically don't like to shop anyways, so this girl will be curled up on the couch with some hot cocoa doing some online shopping if need be. And of course I cook with my family! I'd like to think my family has the best cooks around because I never leave hungry or unsatisfied, plus there are always left overs! My mom and myself will be making our traditional pumpkin roll which is probably my favorite holiday dessert.
My oddest Thanksgiving family tradition is…
Besides eating until I can no longer breathe, I have two odd Thanksgiving family traditions. As I already said, my family all meets at my grandparents' house in Bloomington where their backyard starts out with their huge deck on stilts wandering into the woods. Every year myself, my brothers, cousins and now my niece and nephew look outside at dusk and try and spot the "reindeer". We love Christmas so we try and spot Santa's reindeer a little early. My grandparents always leave out salt blocks and shucked corn so it never fails. Even a couple of squirrels and raccoon hop in on the insanity. The second tradition is all of the grandkids and great grandkids fighting over who gets to pull a part the wish bone! Of course, out of the lucky two who are chosen, the one who pulls the bigger piece of the wishbone gets to make a wish and basically wins bragging rights for the rest of the year!
Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader: Leslie Ann