The NFL’s newest cheerleader, who is a member of the New Orleans Saints team, is a cheerleader with a difference.
Kriste Lewis has all the moves of a “normal” cheerleader, but there are two things that make her different to most — quite different! For a start, Kriste is 40 years old, a rarity age-wise when it comes to cheerleaders.
Secondly, Kriste has two children, boys aged 14 and 11, something that is also extremely rare among the cheerleaders of the NFL.
Kriste Lewis’ background is as an accomplished dance instructor, but as soon as she hit 40 last April, she decided to follow her dream and try out for the New Orleans Saintsations.
She spoke to ABC News about the women she faces in the tryouts to become an NFL cheerleader. “There were a lot of young, beautiful girls. It was a fear. I will not lie,” she said. But it wasn’t just age that Kriste was up against as a challenge, she also had some health issues which she was worried would hold her back.
As she explained: “Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. Eventually my kidneys will shut down [and] I will be in need of dialysis and in need of a transplant. That had a lot to do with me auditioning as well. I didn’t want to waste a day.”
But Kriste caught the judges’ attention early on as she went through the three rounds of tryouts. By the end, Kriste found herself to be the proud member of the team of 36 women selected for the 2014-2015 Saintsations team: “The day I got the news I was really beside myself. It was really exciting,” she said.
The new NFL cheerleader hopes that she will serve as an inspiration for other mothers who want to follow their dreams: “I think as moms we are hard-wired to give and we give and we give and we give. I think it’s important to think back what made you excited as a child,” she said.