Devoted, positive and humble are three words one may choose to describe Brittany of the New York Jets Flight Crew.
For 17 years now, Brittany has been participating in the sport of cheerleading. Beginning with youth football teams, advancing onto the high school scene, one all-star squad in between, and four years of dancing on the club team, Whiplash, while attending Penn State, Brittany today is living her childhood dream.
"Dancing or cheerleading professionally was always something I wanted to do," Brittany said. "Once I got into college and football became a huge interest, it was a natural fit to move into NFL cheerleading."
At an early age, Brittany — this week's Gameday Girl for Sunday's home preseason contest against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers — determined it would be smart to expand her cheerleading skills. She wanted to be unique and she wanted to thrive during the process.
So along with cheerleading, she elected to participate in dance and gymnastics classes. With gymnastics, she dedicated herself to jump-tumbling, a beneficial exercise that translated back to cheerleading.
"I would go to cheerleading practice for an hour and a half after school, and then I would go straight to dance, which was a three-hour class," Brittany said. "So I was probably practicing at least five hours a night at least four days a week."
Those long hours of training have guided her to where she is today, about to begin her third season with the Flight Crew. She gives credit to her parents for encouraging her to never stop following her dreams.
"They were the ones who drove me around to all my different classes and practices and conventions and competitions," Brittany said. "There's not necessarily a person who inspired me dance- or cheerleading-wise, but my parents were always kind of that backbone."
Nothing excites Brittany more than the atmosphere on gameday at MetLife Stadium. She lists last year's season opener against Dallas, which was the 10th year anniversary of 9/11, as her top memory being with the Flight Crew.
"I had goosebumps that game," she said, "even in just the rehearsal and then the bagpipes came out and they pulled out the flag. That game was amazing. The crowd was so loud. It was a night game, the opener. That game definitely stands out to me."
Brittany states that she feels nerves every time before she steps onto the field to perform. But once she steps foot into the tunnel, the nerves disappear.
"The moment we step onto the field, I'm just ready to dance and ready to perform in front of all the fans," she said.
Brittany said she is hoping 2012 will be a winning season for the Green & White. Although the squad hasn't fared well in their first two preseason games, she knows Jets Nation isn't losing hope.
And even these days, while she continues to showcase her talents in front of 80,000 fans on Sundays during the fall seasons, she remains thankful.
"If you would've asked me five to 10 years ago if I thought I'd be an NFL cheerleader going into my third season, I would never have believed you. I would have laughed," Brittany said. "It's a cool thing, and it's something I'm still excited about more and more every day."