The idea of over a hundred beautiful females assembled in one single location would seem pretty euphoric to many guys.
Well, it is euphoric. And yes, after yesterday, I know this first hand. And yes, I am purposely showing off.
Besides the hour-long looping of Mick Jagger’s voice obnoxiously singing “The Hardest Ever”, it’s hard to complain about my weekend workday yesterday, especially when it involved about 8 long hours spent with a flock of beautifully talented and ambitious women (showing off again).
Women that showed up with one common purpose: to qualify for a spot on the Wizard Girls dance team.
A strong buzz of anticipation and anxiety lingered over approximately 150 girls on the Verizon Center hardwood yesterday. Grouped in separate patches, the girls were dressed with 3-digit number tags pinned to their waist, as they proceeded with their individual routines for preparation.
“There’s a lot of talent out here today. Trimming down to the final number is going to be tough,” WG dance team manager Derric -- without a K -- Whitfield said.
That target number for selections was anywhere from 35 to 50 girls, which will eventually be reduced to a final roster of 20 in the next few weeks.
Whitfield, formerly the dance team manager of the Houston Rockets, joined the Wizards this past year and serves as the team choreographer.
The morning began with about 75 girls performing first round auditions in front of a group of guest judges, which included our very own DJ Saam, Trevor Jackson and Asad Naqvi, along with a special appearance from Abid, our WE affiliate hailing out of Brooklyn, New York. A die hard Knicks fan, why I labeled him as an affiliate to Wizards Extreme I'm not quite sure. It just sounds official.
The girls performed various dance moves during the initlal round: freestyle, hip twists, twirls and high jumps -- am I saying this right? -- along with a bunch of other dancey stuff I don’t fully understand the mechanics to. I just enjoy them during timeouts.
The rest of the dancers were the ones who participated in the pre-tryout prep classes and qualified for a “first-round bye”; Returning veterans like standout Joanna Zimmerman also skipped the initial round.
Joanna, who was simply number 175 before I finally met her, is a Harvard graduate and a soon-to-be returning Wizards Girl.
As a person who “loves basketball”, Joanna had a strong opinion for the Wizards’ number 3 overall pick: “I’m on the Beal train.”
Second-year Wizards Girl Brittney agreed..sort of: “We need a shooter,” Brittney said, admitting the Wizards’ lack of a premiere scorer.
Basically she wants Beal.
And speaking of the notion of drafting Bradley Beal, lurking around the arena was Big Tigger. Unfortunately for Beal, that wasn’t a positive reference.
“I’m not sold on the guy. I’m hearing about his upside. Honestly, I’m tired of upside. I want NOW,” Tigger vented to our crew in between rounds.
Wizards forward Trevor Booker also made an appearance as a guest judge. Still nursing his ailing left foot, Booker claimed he felt much better and was looking forward to being in Las Vegas next month for the Summer League games...as a spectator, of course. As far as the auditions, Booker felt a little more enthusiasm was needed by some of the girls.
"A lot of girls came out. Some of the girls were a little nonchalant. I don't like that."
Meanwhile, up in the bleachers sat George Mason product, Lindsay Schreiber, a former tryout for the Redskins. Lindsay (number 173), sitting with her close friends who were also auditioning, claimed the tryouts for the Wizards dance team vastly differed from the Redskins.
“The Redskins dance team requires more basic moves. With the Wizards it’s more actual dancing and more choreography.”
Interestingly a few girls were former Redskin tryouts so the emotional process was a bit familiar for them.
The final round of the audition was the most tedious. With the number of girls trimmed down to about 60, Whitfield’s work was cut out for him.
Close friends Missy and Jackie were amongst the finalists going into the final audition and their anxiety was pretty apparent, but luckily for them JoeGlo’s 6-year old son took some of the edge off.
Before chanting off the final qualifying numbers, Derric assured the girls of their accomplishments and praised them for their dedication:
“For all of you girls that are sitting here, know that if you’ve made it this far, you are good enough to make the team. Unfortunately, we only have a select number of open spots available. If you do not make the final cut, please do not let that discourage you. You are great at what you do and I ask you to come back again next year.”
Whitfield’s positive energy kept the girls in high spirits and it showed.
In the end, Missy and Lindsay along with 32 other girls took a leap in pursuing their dream and a drew closer to becoming part of a tradition and culture that is rooted from committment, dedication and excellence.
Good luck to all the ladies and GO WIZARDS!