This summer has definitely been one for transition. After dancing in the NBA since 2007, this is the first time I know I am having to get used to being out of the spotlight and onto the sidelines for games and events.
But you know what? I’m pretty okay with it.
My last paid appearance as a dancer was getting to perform on stage and in concert with Big & Rich!
That’s an amazing way to close out my dancing years if you ask me!
Auditions for this year’s dance team already took place at the end of June, so when the day came and I didn’t attend, I knew my decision to retire was here to stay. Although the feeling is bittersweet, I can honestly say I am ready to move on and am really looking forward to what the next few years look like for me, and us, outside of the NBA.
While I’m not part of the performance crew anymore, I have been spending a lot of my time helping out with the entertainment teams this summer. Specifically a crazy horse mascot named HOOPER.
I tend to mention HOOPER and working events with the Pistons every now and then and I have a feeling some of you read those blurbs with a cocked head. (She’s doing what?) I guess it’s time to help you out and explain exactly what that job entails.
During the NBA season, you can find our entertainment teams on and off the court in community and sponsored events throughout the state, country and even world!
Remember our trip to Paris? I was fortunate enough to be hired as Scott’s assistant as he helped coordinate and oversee the mascot entertainment for the Paris All-Star Game!
While the basketball games stop in April (or June, if you’re lucky enough to go all the way to the NBA Finals) the off-season proves to stay active with events and performances throughout the summer. This one in particular hasn’t slowed down a bit!
Currently, my main job outside of blogging is being HOOPER’s assistant. Whenever he has a scheduled appearance or performance, there I am. That will probably change once the season starts, or if I get a job in the fitness industry (<- I miss teaching group fitness so much!), but for now, that’s what pays my part of the bills.
I came into this unique position through Scott. He is a Director of Pistons Entertainment, the manager and coach/performer with the Flight Crew (oh hey, SkyKing!) and works very closely with all of the entertainment teams.
Even this furry one!
As HOOPER’s assistant, I get to work a lot of the same events Scott is already on which is great for carpooling. 😉
Basically, my job is to follow him everywhere, hand him props from his ridiculous bag of tricks, keep the rowdy kids that try to bully him away, and be his voice. (Mascots don’t speak!)
I’ve only run into a few instances where having a small girl as his assistant hasn’t worked out very well. Lucky for me, those times people tried to gang up on him, I had reinforcement around to yell and enforce the “no touching” rule. People are crazy, I tell you!
Anyways, hanging with HOOP is never boring, and always keeps me entertained and on my toes.
Yesterday, I was hired to help with Metro Detroit Youth Day at Belle Isle. The Pistons and Sprite came together to donate a full sized basketball court to the park and last year I worked the same event as a dancer, when the court officially opened.
On the schedule was a couple of dunk shows, appearances from players and former Pistons legends, and a performance from the Pistons Hip Hop dance team, D-Town.
My specific job is to stay with HOOPER, who happened to be dunking with the boys in one of their shows. Check it out!
Even HOOP’s got some ups!
I’m trying not to be biased when I say that the Pistons have one of the best sports entertainment dunk teams in the league. They truly blow my mind with the things they come up with and accomplish, and were even featured on America’s Got Talent in 2012!
Just in case you’re wondering, the guy speaking in the clip is the former coach of the crew and is also a close friend of Scott’s. Essentially, we moved up here for Scott to fill his shoes!
They’re incredible to watch and it’s always fun to see the new tricks and shows they put together.
After their first dunk show, I spent the next thirty minutes or so roaming the crowd and helping people take pictures with HOOPER. Next, it was time for autographs and meet and greets.
While the Flight Crew put on another dunk show, HOOPER and I made our rounds through the field and pulled all sorts of shenanigans.
Or, at least he did.
When we got back to the court, we found D-town free-styling, which is never out of the ordinary.
It always amazes me how they can just come up with whatever to showcase on the fly. D-town and even random spectators like this guy!
While the Dancers (<- hey look, I’m still up there!) or other entertainment teams like Cheer Team, Drumline, and the Mob Squad (junior dancers) weren’t at this event, I think the three teams held down the Pistons Entertainment name very well!
Not all events are like this, but most of them are. Occasionally we are brought in for school shows, camps, and community events, but most of our work is sponsored Pistons events like this one.
Whatever the case, I usually come home with some interesting memories and usually a smile!
On average, I work between two to three events a week during the summer, but that is always changing. Some weeks go by without any, but a couple of weeks ago I worked six! It all depends on what is going on, and what they need help with.
So I guess when I mention “I was working an event” you now have somewhat of an idea of what I’m talking about.
Have a great rest of your Thursday!
I’ll see you back in the morning with Friday Favorites!
I was the mascot for my university (Cocky, University of South Carolina) and let me tell you how much better it was to have an “assistant” around for community events. I absolutely loved what I did, but there were times when some enthusiastic fans were a little overbearing. I hope you have as much fun being around the mascot as I did being the mascot! 🙂
It’s definitely overwhelming at times! But more fun than anything 🙂 That’s so awesome you were a mascot!
Runner Girl Eats
I work with a lot of professional sports teams, especially mascots, so this is fun to read about the other side! I also think it’s great that you are able to slowly transition away from the NBA world so you can ease into the new phase of your life 🙂
I think working out of the spotlight but with the organization definitively helps!