Honoring A Legacy

Last night as I watched many of my friends on social media post in shock, excitement or outrage; I silently pondered what the next four years would look like.

It was an easy answer for me.

Recently, the world lost one of its brightest lights, pioneers and inspirational women and the next four years won’t nearly be the same without her.

Suzanne Mitchell

Former Director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC)

As you might recall, two years ago I had the incredibly honor of interviewing Suzanne at the National Football League Alumni Cheerleader Reunion in Atlanta, GA. Over 300 women from across the country came together to mingle, network, and celebrate our collective role in the NFL. These women were incredible national sales directors, tv personalities, biologists and lawyers. But one light shined brighter than everyone else, and that was Suzanne.

Suzanne has affectionately been called the “Godmother of Professional Cheerleading” – credited with crafting the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders into what they are today.

Her story is so powerful and inspiring that everyone from The Washington Post, New York Times, Dallas News and many more publications wrote about her legacy. And the turnout for her Celebration of Life event this past weekend makes it clear just how many lives she touched.

Although I only briefly knew Suzanne, I was moved by the powerful words used to describe Suzanne’s legacy and I asked myself: how do you possibly honor such an extraordinary woman who has touched so many lives over the years?

Suzanne’s Celebration of Life was nothing short of fabulous. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and Suzanne’s family did an extraordinary job of honoring her from beautiful bouquets of her favorite flower (yellow rose) to a butterfly release and even a surprise appearance from Lee Greenwood who sang his famous song: God Bless the U.S.A.

There was a group of alumni NFL cheerleaders from several teams who flew in for the celebration. I was honored to be in attendance.

As we look forward to the next four years, no matter what happens, I have to remember the legacy that Suzanne left behind and the example she set for so many.

The words that were used to describe her included things like, “pioneer, strong, self-starter, not afraid, insanely loyal, leader and one of the most inspirational individuals both men and women had known”.

When I think about the legacy any of us leave on this planet, I think about people like Suzanne, or my other cheer coaches Elaine, Stephanie, Linda and Nancy. You don’t have to have a specific title to make a positive impact in the world, but you DO have to care enough to dream big, accept challenges, and be kind to those around you. If I have learned anything in the last 24 hours, it’s that we could all use more of that in our world today.

Rest in Peace Suzanne. You were a tremendous individual I was so lucky to have met.

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