Being a cheerleader for a professional basketball team is not just for 20-somethings. It’s never too late to follow you passions and keep in shape.
We’ve all seen the women who lead the cheers for professional sports teams. They jump, do splits and dance during the time outs or at halftime. And that is just what Marcia Jaffe does. She’s founder and a performer with the Dream Supremes (average age : 63) the senior dance team of the WNBA’s (Women’s National Basketball Association) Atlanta Dream.
The Dream Supremes perform on selected halftimes. Marcia and her dance team take to the floor for 90 seconds of intense cheerleading. According to Marcia, “It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an eternity. It ends with us doing stunts, which is risky on wood. I say a little prayer each time.”
Jaffe confides that it’s not only the physical part that is a challenge, but also remembering which stunt or step is next. “I can do the handstands, cartwheels, and splits, but the memory issues are really hard.”
Jaffe is a former Advertising Account Executive for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and vice president for retail of the Buckhead (Georgia) Business Association. One meeting she was listening to a speech by the Atlanta Dream Owner on “how sports had affected her life and kept girls out of trouble,” Jaffe said. “About that same time, I saw a trend story on CBS with Katie Couric about these senior dance teams. I had been an ice skater and ballet dancer as a child. I thought, it’s great to empower young women, but how about older women?”
Marcia doesn’t easily divulge her age, but she does reveal that she graduated from college in 1971 and to maintain your mathematical skills, invites you to do the math.
The Dream Supremes have a total of 16 members ranging in age from 55 to the 70s and includes a few men. They only perform from May to August, which is the WNBA season, but practice year-round to perfect their performance and create variety.
“We can’t perform the same dance each time, and though we started with Michael Jackson and James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good,’ they wanted us to be more hip,” Jaffe says. “We didn’t know who Lady Gaga was, but we performed to ‘Poker Face’ and, more recently, Beyonce’s “Put a Ring on it.”
The Dream Supremes not only perform for the WNBA at Philips Arena; they have also lent their support for other venues such as the 15,000 person Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Atlanta Walk. They also perform for seniors and the disabled at facilities such as the William Bremen Jewish Home.
“We hand out pompoms and talk about each of the members – we have some schoolteachers, business owners, a minister’s wife, and a rabbi’s wife – we talk about what we do and how we got involved,” Jaffe says. “We don’t expect to be acknowledged (by the elderly), but sometimes we get a glimmer from an old song. If someone’s giving me eye contact, I do a split in front of them.”
Marcia Jaffe and the Dream Supremes set a great example of combining socializing, exercising and making a difference. Give me a M-A-R-C-I-A!
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