Thunder fever: a behind-the-scenes look at the original Thunder Girls
Their dances and energy pump up thousands of fans. The Thunder Girls are an Oklahoma staple. The 20 women involved represent the most high profile team in the state. And three of them have been there since it all began.Shereka, Jada and La'Teshia are the last of the originals. "We were there with them," Shereka remembered, "we were there with the very first fans."The trio has lots of stories of the old days. "No one really knew who we were and the idea of Thunder was so new," La'Teshia said."We knew that we were gonna be a part of something really special, but at the same time we knew that none of us had any idea what we were doing!" said Shereka. Old audition videos show the girls, then hopefuls, six years ago before the Thunder players ever hit the court."We always joke about it, we feel like their mom," said Jada, "we've seen them grow up from where they started back in 2008 to where they are now."Since then the team has come a long way, making it to the finals and currently fighting to return. And the Thunder Girls have been on the court, cheering them on the whole time. They each pick up most dances in a matter of minutes. They've learned more than 50 routines this season alone."You are expected to be on top of your game at all times," Shereka said.And while some may think it just takes a pretty face, the girls go through two different boot camp sessions a week, plus nine hours of practice, plus games. And they all have separate, full-time jobs. But it's not all serious, all the time. The girls like to joke around, and laughter is constant during practice."They're my best friends, they're gonna be in my wedding, you know I've known Shereka and Jada forever, I don't know what I'd do without them," La'Teshia said.The three say they've grown up together as women. They literally spend hours together, meeting fans and working in the community."They're just going to remember that game that they went to that you gave them a high five, that you gave them a smile," Jada said about what keeps her smiling while meeting thousands of fans."You just feel like you're a part of something bigger than you are, and it's very special," Shereka said.Their coach Paige Carter says the girls are incredibly recognizable around Oklahoma City. "I don't think there are many people that don't know Shereka, La'Teshia and Jada," she said, "if not by name then they know their faces and they know their presence on the court."And while there are whispers that these three Thunder originals may bow out after the season, they say they're focused on playoffs and making it to the finals.That way they can continue the traditions they helped start, with a sisterhood they built from scratch.The team will not release information about what the girls make for their part-time gig with the team. But they can log up to 30 hours a week.The Thunder Girls will take the court next at Saturday's home game at 8:30..
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