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Titans cheerleader to Rotary: It’s about community
Dec 05, 2012 4:30 pm
It’s not known whether Tennessee Titans cheerleader Stephanie Armstrong changed any minds Tuesday at the Lebanon Lunch Rotary Club meeting about some misconceptions of cheering in the National Football League, but Rotarian Jonathan Richards who invited Armstrong now has a permanent job as program coordinator.
Armstrong, a two-year captain with the Titans cheerleaders, lists Lebanon as her hometown even though she hasn’t always lived in the city.
“Lebanon is definitely my home,” Armstrong said. “Even though I didn’t grow up here completely, I still call it home, and it’s nice coming back.”
Armstrong is in her fifth year as a Titans cheerleader and second as captain, which she said is decided each year by coaches. She started on the squad when she was 18.
Following two seasons, Armstrong left the squad to work in Los Angeles on season three of the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Armstrong later returned to the Nashville area and met the man who would later become her husband, a Grammy-nominated Christian musician. In July 2009, the couple had a daughter, but Armstrong wasn’t ready to give up cheering.
She’s currently the mother of a 3-year-old and corporate communications specialist for Cracker Barrel.
Armstrong started her talk Tuesday by answering many of the most commonly asked questions she gets about cheering for the Titans.
She said she does get paid, but wasn’t specific about the amount.
“The league minimum for rookies in the NFL is $390,000 a year,” Armstrong said. “I get paid .01 percent of that. You do the math.”
She said the cheerleaders do not travel when the team is on the road and doesn’t hang out with the players unless at occasional charitable events.
Armstrong admitted she was never a cheerleader before joining the Titans squad. But she did have a dance background. After graduating valedictorian of her high school class, she attended Belmont University on academic scholarship and majored in music business and entertainment. While at Belmont, she became a Titans cheerleader and worked part time as a music producer’s assistant.
She graduated summa cum laude from the Mike Curb School for Music Business and holds a bachelors in business administration from Belmont.
She said many of her fellow cheerleaders have careers or are students. One of her fellow cheerleaders is a neuromolecular biologist.
She described a typical cheerleader as one with a type-A personality, who is a goal-oriented, positive leader. Armstrong also admitted it’s a lot of work.
“It’s truly a lifestyle,” she said. “We truly are a product of Tennessee Titans Entertainment Inc. … We spend countless hours, and those hours keep me coming back year after year. Yes, there are perks, but there are life-changing experiences every day.”
Armstrong said this year would be her last to cheer for the Titans as she plans to retire in January to pursue a master’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University.
Richards, who introduced Armstrong Tuesday to the club, was commended for his choice of speaker so much that he was nominated to be permanent program coordinator, jokingly.