There are plenty of reasons to patronize your local National Lacrosse League team. The games are fast paced, hard hitting, full of amazing athleticism and incredible playmaking. But the teams need to take a break to catch their breath now and then.
That's when the dance teams bust out to add some additional flavor to the show.
While doing my initial poking around the interwebs researching this piece, it was Edmonton Crush coach Joelle Rebke who pointed out that, with the exception of the Toronto Rock Cheerleaders, the teams in the NLL are "dance teams," not "cheerleaders." As she explained to me by e-mail,
"It's a common mistake we get called a cheer team all the time, people get confused when they see the pom routines. But we only use poms about one in every three routines, and we don't do 'cheers' or stunts like cheer teams do—only dance and perform to music."
Make no mistake, these women have some serious talent and some serious moves. They have style, grace, sexiness and energy that brings the event to a whole new level.
In fact, the real challenge during my hours of research was figuring out a way to rank the teams, since the pictures and video out there for each team are so good. There really isn't a bad group among them.
So I came up with a highly unscientific formula that looks at more than just the excellent results you see on the floor. I've factored in things like the team's website and use of social media, whether the information they have available is current and their involvement in the community.
The four teams that answered my follow-up questions through Twitter or e-mail also received bonus marks for being so helpful with my research. I really appreciated the assistance!
Feel free to argue with my rankings if you're so inclined, but, to be honest, I'd rate them all anywhere from excellent to slightly more excellent.
So have a look through and bask in the glory that is NLL dance teams in action.