Student Balances Classes, Being An NFL Cheerleader

While most UVM students cram into dorm rooms to view New England Patriots football games in the fall, one student drives three-and-a-half hours every home game to cheer for the team at Gillette Stadium from the field.  

Sophomore Bridget Martin, a transfer student from the University of Rhode Island, found out she had been accepted as an alternate cheerleader for the Patriots in spring 2015, right after she had transferred to UVM.

“It was pretty ironic, I ended up creating a three-and-a-half hour commute versus a 30-minute commute [to Gillette Stadium, the home stadium of the New England Patriots],” Martin said.

“But it wasn’t really planned because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go to UVM or that I was going to be a Patriots cheerleader.”

The audition process lasted about two months, and consisted of “an interview, dancing, talking in front of a panel of judges, workouts and a two-week boot camp, to make sure [applicants are] fit enough to endure a whole game of cheering on the sidelines,” Martin said.

“All of these workouts, obviously, you have to do with a smile, because that’s how it’s going to be on game day,”  she said.              

This past fall, Martin’s first fall semester at UVM, she tried to schedule classes around Thursdays in order to balance school as best she could while honoring her new commitment to the Patriots.

“You never know when you’re going to have to go to a Thursday night football game,” Martin said, “but I did happen to have a few classes on Thursdays. I just used good communication with my professors.”

She said her professors have been understanding, especially because of the higher level of commitment during the fall semester rather than in the spring, when the Patriots are not playing their regular season.

“They happened to be Patriots fans too, so that helped,” Martin said.

During the fall, which is when the New England Patriots’ season takes place, Martin said she usually spends her Thursdays through Sundays near Gillette Stadium.

During the spring, the cheerleaders have practices Tuesdays and Saturdays.         

Patriots cheerleaders also have a quota of charity events  that they are expected to attend each year based on everyone’s availability.

“For the cheerleaders, we do about 50 a year, and those are random,” Martin said.

“The fall is a huge commitment because we have the practices, games and the charity events,” she said.

The Patriots Charitable Foundation, run by the Kraft family, is the foundation which organized each of the charity events that the cheerleaders took part in.

Martin said one of her favorite things about being a Patriots cheerleader is the people she has met.

Some of the people Martin has met through her new position include the Kraft family, who own the New England Patriots, she said.

“Between that, the fans and the charity events, I’ve been able to make networks through all different types of people,” Martin said.

“And even when I was attending about 50 charity events this past year, each event, no matter how small or big, there was someone who would really move me and touch my heart,” she said.

The commute to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts from Burlington is an easy drive, and the job is well worth it, she said.

“Those personal experiences were really things I would have never had the chance to have if I didn’t have this job,” she said.