Two months ago, it was one of those weird weather days on the Belmar beach at the Jersey shore. The New York Jets Flight Crew van had pulled into the parking lot at D'Jai's Bar & Grill at the end of 18th Ave and set up shop for the second photo shoot that would result in the first-ever Flight Crew calendar.
The sky was high and blue and the late May sun was warming the sand and air in advance of Memorial Day. And then as you walked down to the water and the jetty where photographer Steve Vaccariello and his team were set up, it was like walking into an invisible meat locker.
Meredith, kneeling on one of the flat rocks just out of reach of low tide, looked at Jenn during a break and mouthed the words "It's cold!"
But Meredith and Jennifer, Linda and Mandisa and the rest of the crew in my neck of the Jersey woods carried on, striking great poses and smiles in exquisite swimsuits. And soon it will be time to see the results of their labors. Perhaps the eighth month will heat up a so-far cool Northeast summer with the unveiling of the 2009 Flight Crew Calendar sometime in August.
The enthusiasm of the young women, always evident on home Sundays in the fall and at events the rest of the year, was infectious on this late spring day as well.
"This is the first actual photo shoot I've ever done, so it was really fun and something new," said Linda, who wore a cheetah suit for her shoot. "I was definitely nervous on the drive here, because I didn't know: Am I going to be good at this? Am I not?
"But Steve was great, and I had Mandisa down there with me and she was talking me through the whole thing, showing me poses and teaching me to do it while I was doing it. And once they brought music over, it made it a little more comfortable, kind of like you're performing, you're putting on a little show."
It will be interesting to see if Jennifer's calendar pose has her airborne — she did a number of takes while jumping in the air on the rocks (no, they weren't seaweed-slippery).
"It's just kind of doing what you feel is right, and if it's something they like, they let you know," Jenn said. "Shooting a calendar is just a huge opportunity and it's so awesome, such a rush. All the other teams in the league, I think, pretty much do a calendar. Really, it's going to be amazing."
Meredith, unlike many others in this year's Flight Crew, has been on a few other photo shoots, but she said this one was the most fun, and never mind the breeze.
"I'm a total beach person. I love the warm weather. And this is an absolutely beautiful beach," said the New Yorker who got to sample Belmar for the first time. "It didn't matter how cold I was. I'm honored to be a part of the Flight Crew Calendar."