NFL cheerleaders are often ogled and drooled over like a sizzling piece of prime rib on the grill.
That is, in it’s purest form, a bad thing. However, that fact is not the point of this piece.
Fit, beautiful, and nimble, the core demographic for most NFL cheerleaders is likely 18-25 – and for good reason. Similarly to a NFL player, cheerleaders perform a strenuous workout for hours along the sidelines of games and – to put it bluntly – it’s not an old woman’s game.
But don’t you dare call Kriste Lewis old.
The 40-year-old Mississippi girl is the newest ‘Saintsation’ – the popular pet name given to Saints’ cheerleaders. Trying out at 40 in-and-of-itself was a challenge, and Lewis said she didn’t have high hopes for making the team.
“I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition,” Lewis told NewOrleansSaints.com. “Honestly, I really did not think I was going to make it.”
She did make it. If you can believe it, though, her age was the easiest obstacle to overcome.
Lewis was diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disease that will eventually lead to the need for a kidney transplant. Several of Lewis’ family members have died of the disease, and her mother has already undergone dialysis and a kidney transplant that her body twice rejected.
“I know my time is limited,” Lewis told NewOrleansSaints.com. “I don’t want to let any time go. I want to make every day count.”
Motivated, dedicated, and for what it’s worth incredibly beautiful, Lewis is showing us all that no matter what our circumstances are, it’s never too late to chase our dreams.
“I can’t wait to get on that field,” she told NewOrleansSaints.com. “Just being able to put a cheerleading uniform back on and go at it for my favorite team is unbelievable to me, and I’m having a blast.”
Lewis will take the field with the ‘Saintsations’ when the Saints play their first preseason game on August 15th at the Superdome against the Tennessee Titans. Get to know Lewis below!