Dennis Rodman once said, “Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college, where you figure out two plus two is ten, or something.”
Something tells me if Yalea, a Titans Cheerleader with super-veteran status, were his teacher, he would have learned a whole lot more.
While it may be hard to believe for some (and a dream come true for others), Yalea’s outfit changes have quite the range going from a super skimpy light blue Titans Cheerleading uniform on Sunday home games to her typical lab coat and goggles during the day where she spends her time as a high school chemistry teacher and varsity cheerleading coach.
You might recognize Yalea on the Titans sidelines either from her huge smile, her jet-black shiny hair, or the fact she’s taller than all the other girls, standing proudly at 5-feet-10-inches.
So yeah, Yalea is actually taller than WR Devon Wylie (#19) who is 5-9, and is the same height as three other players on the Titans roster: RB Collin Mooney (#42), DB Alterraun Verner (#20) and WR Kendall Wright (#13) — all heights according to the current Titans Roster.
Or actually, you may notice her out of the beautifully star-studded lineup of Titans Cheerleaders because of her abs of steel, having been voted the “best abs” of 2012 by the rest of her Titans Cheerleaders. “I’m always super proud of my abs of steel,” Yalea gushes.
“I love staying in shape. I’m always going to bootcamps, running and everything else because I love maintaining a great physique,” the abs winner says. “I just got into running 5ks. I’m working my way up to the marathons, but a good 5k is quick and easy!”
Though Yalea has been a glorious Titans Cheerleader for three years, she, like all the others, still gets nervous walking out at LP Field. But I love her approach; it reminds me of an elite athlete knowing they’ve been blessed with a talent and unique opportunity. “I love every game and treat it like it could be my last and perform like it’s my first. I get crazy butterflies but have a blast during the entire day,” she explains.
As someone who lives in Houston, I can’t have a conversation with Yalea without bringing up the Texans/Oilers/Titans. “I would say our biggest rival has to be the Houston Texans just because of the history between both the city and our franchise. Every time we play them if it’s home or away you can always see both sides wearing their jerseys and if you’re anywhere watching a game you can feel it in the air,” she says of the rivalry.
Before you go judging her for having practically every Disney soundtrack on her iPod (which seems to be a theme among NFL Cheerleaders), she’s quicker to call herself a nerd than you are to think it. Aside from her array of musical choices, Yalea has more degrees that I have running shoes. “I have a BS in Biomedical Science, a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Teaching. I’m pretty much the biggest science geek of all time,” she laughs, but in complete seriousness.
And my new tall friend Yalea is far from being the only highly educated woman on her team. “I think the biggest misconception about NFL Cheerleaders is that we’re stupid. That drives me crazy. My team specifically has PhD candidates, CPAs, nurses, teachers, and more. We have such a variety and I love learning from everyone,” she says.
The hardest part about being an NFL Cheerleader for Yalea is definitely the schedule, but that’s just another area where her geeky tendencies come into play and provide a benefit to her. “ I know for me I teach, coach and cheer so my time management and organization has to be on point. You’ll always see me carrying a giant planner and it’s color-coded to make it extra organized,” she says laughing realizing how incredibly dorky she sounds yet completely oblivious to how equally cute and fitting it is for her.
Taking all the busy aspects of her life into account, Yalea takes time to realize life should never get too busy quoting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as a reminder for us all: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
“Although I love my Titans family, my favorite player to watch is Calvin Johnson of the Lions. He is really taking them places,” Yalea confesses. This is probably a good time to tell you she’s originally from Clinton Township, MI (a suburb of Detroit), so her first love is the Lions. As she tells me about her hometown she does the odd little Michigander location hand motion and I feel completely lost, but trust she knows what she’s talking about as a native.
A girl after my own heart, Yalea admits she’s a big fan of The Real Housewives and we gush about those ladies and their crazy drama. “ It can get crazy but I love that show. You will always catch it on my DVR. Atlanta is definitely my favorite,” she says.
“I love my team. We are an amazing group of women. I think we work hard and it shows. No matter what our team is doing, know that we will be amazing,” she promises in a final gush about the women she works hard with each and every week to bring Titans fans the biggest and brightest smiles in all of Tennessee.
And as if the girl didn’t already have enough degrees, she tells me she wants more. (Us women, always wanting more…)
“I love having a brain to go along with cheering. I’m considering going back to medical school with my history of working as a phlebotomist and in triage in the ER. Hopefully one day I’ll be a physician!”
For those of you who love beautiful, geeky girls with legs for miles, here’s a special tip just for you:
“I love sushi! So if you want to take me out, find the best sushi restaurant in town and let’s go!” – from Yalea’s mouth straight to your computer screen.
Can we get a collective “Go Titans!” for Yalea?
Be sure to follow Yalea on Twitter — try to out-geek her — I dare you.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.
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