A lot of people besides football players go into making a football game. In the third part of an on-going series, Nick Evans talks with Florida State’s Golden Girls.
Florida State is warming up to play The Citadel and the announcer is introducing the home team’s roster. It’s the first home game of the season, and even with the rain, Doak Campbell Stadium is nearly full. Down at the other end of the field, Florida State’s Golden Girls are dancing and shaking garnet and gold pom-poms.
Now I know what you’re thinking, but actually they’re the school’s dance team. They've heard the joke before though.
Ashley Wilkinson is a fourth-year senior captain; she says if she was a golden girl she’d be Rose.
Ditto for third-year senior vet, Jenny Knipe.
“I don’t really watch the show,” Knipe says, “but I love Betty White, so I’m going to be Rose just because I love Betty White.”
Christina Hancock is a third-year senior captain, and she needed a little help.
“Ok who’s the really old one – the little small – what’s her name? Sophia!”
That’s Estelle Getty’s character.
Third-year senior captain, Ashley Cupples, wasn’t sure either, but the other ladies say she’d be Dorothy – the one played by Bea Arthur.
Each week 18 of the team’s 23 women will be out on the edge of the field performing, and new coach Brittani Richards says they bring something special to the game. But their impact stretches beyond the field, too. Before the game against The Citadel, the Golden Girls participated in a clinic for young girls interested in dance and cheer.
“A lot of those kids who come to our clinics want to eventually be a Golden Girl,” Richards says. “It’s their chance to meet us up close and personal, see some of the styles that we do, and see what we do on a gameday basis, and just be a tool for them, and something for them to look up to – role model in the community basically.”
Knipe was happy the kids got to come out onto the field before the game.
“You know they look up to the Golden Girls, they look up to the cheerleaders, they hope to grow up and be one of them,” Knipe says, “so it was cool that they got to come onto the field and kind of perform for their parents and for everyone else, and really see what it was like.”
Richards says the Golden Girls bring football a little bit of glamour, but Wilkinson says they’re still athletes.
“The amount of sweat and tears and blood that we put forth for this team is the same amount that the football players, baseball players, soccer players, you name it, we’re right there with them,” Wilkinson says.
So when Florida State plays Clemson September 20, the Golden Girls will be out on the sidelines sporting pom-poms and smiles from ear to ear. But don’t let the makeup fool you – these ladies want a win just as much as those guys in pads.