Because State College is the state’s geographical center, when it comes to NFL fandom in Happy Valley, team loyalties extend in every direction and are as diverse as they are fervent. No matter where your football fidelity falls, everyone can agree on rooting for a local kid to make it to the league.
This spring, Leah Cable, a State College native and 2013 SCAHS graduate, was unveiled as one of the newest members of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Cheerleading squad. A long-time trained dancer, Cable is a sophomore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and said she is thrilled to be able to cement her own legacy in this 66-year-old tradition.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Cable said. “I have been dancing since the age of 3 and performed in competitions across a number of states growing up, but all this time I was never really into cheerleading. What drew me to the Eagles Cheerleaders is that they actually do a lot more dancing and they don’t really rely on stunts or on having us fly around.”
“She has been dancing for almost all of her life and I am so excited about this,” said Ellen Cable, Leah’s mother. “This is also a great opportunity for her to pursue a dancing career.”
Cable is more than just a halftime performer. The Eagles Cheerleaders are renowned for their service work, which was a major attraction for the socially conscious Cable.
“In middle school and high school, I was a Pride Ambassador and I have always had a passion for community service,” Cable said. “I also knew that the Eagles Cheerleaders also are heavily involved with community service, they really are the team’s ambassadors, so it was only natural for me to continue that passion as a member of the squad.”
“In order to be an Eagles Cheerleader, you have to be really committed to represent the Eagles brand,” Cable said. “We don’t really look at ourselves as sex symbols, especially when you take into account all of the work that we do, the games, the practices, community appearances and various team obligations. It’s a lot of work, but I really enjoy doing it.”
As a dance major at UArts, Cable is also perfectly suited to apply what she studies onto the field and used her training during the two-month-long audition process.
“A bunch of other students at UArts all went and auditioned and we had learn a whole lot of different dance techniques in class, ranging everywhere from ballet to jazz, tap and hip hop,” Cable said. “There are actually five total girls who are attending UArts who are on the team. We are all really supportive of each other, too. There is also a huge variety of people on the squad like pre-med students and speech pathologists, but my own academic curriculum has been very beneficial toward my role as a cheerleader.”
“Even though she has been competing in dance since she was 8, I always get nervous every time she goes on stage,” Ellen Cable added. “But I was ecstatic for her when she made the team, I was extremely excited. She has two older sisters who are also dancers who have been extremely supportive of her and her career path. We are all just so excited.”
While most college students spent the summer either taking classes or working jobs, Cable and the squad traveled to Mexico to take part in the 2015 Eagles Cheerleader Calendar, which was unveiled earlier this month.
“The experience was amazing,” Cable said of the calendar shoot. “We flew down to a resort in Mexico. It was my first time out of the country, and it was just an incredible time.”
With her whole life ahead of her, Cable knows that right now is the ideal time to explore her interests. Her dance degree could lead her to a variety of professions from swinging on Broadway to operating her own studio, but for the time being, she is happy to cheer for the Midnight Green.
“I am just really looking forward to being out there on the field and having that amazing experience of being on an actual NFL field on game day,” Cable said. “This is going to be such a wonderful opportunity.”
For more information, visit www.philadelphiaeagles.com/cheerleaders/index.html. The site contains mature content.