Q&A with SNU student Sarah Jackson, Thunder Girl

Photo provided by Sarah Jackson
Photo provided by Sarah Jackson

Katelyn Lamb, Content and Assistant Editor

   Students are full of surprises, be it a unique hobby, fascinating past or interesting job. Sarah Jackson happens to have all three. The Echo interviewed the sophomore business major to learn how surprising she can be.

   The Echo: I hear you have quite the job! What is it you do?

   Jackson: I am a Thunder Girl, the dance team for the OKC Thunder. I tried out last August, so this is my first season!

   The Echo: What is your previous experience with dance?

   Jackson: I have danced since I was four, starting out in tap, jazz and ballet but eventually tried a lot of things like hip-hop, ballroom and lyrical. In high school, I was on pom and also danced at a studio. I have been competing since I was ten years old!

  The Echo: So what made you tryout for the Thunder Girls?

   Jackson: When I came to college, I really missed dance. So last June, I started training with the Thunder Girls’ coach to prepare for auditions in the fall. I mostly did it out of curiosity, I wanted to see what it was all about. I thought “I’m so young; there’s no way I’ll actually make it.” But once I did the first audition, I knew I could do it; it gave me an extra boost of confidence.

    The Echo: What was the audition process like?

   Jackson: It was intense. We did three rounds of tryouts, interviews and met with a lot of different people. Then the 38 finalists did one more audition dance, and 20 were selected to be on the team. I was one of the 20. I’m the second youngest girl on the team!

   The Echo: What does a typical day for you look like?

   Jackson: Well, first of all, I have all 8 am classes. So I go to class, then do homework or try to take a nap and then go to practice. We practice every day from 6:30-10:00 pm, and then I come home and do more homework. Sometimes I think, “Why am I taking 17 hours?” but I’m making it! Also, we are required to do workouts 2-3 times a week. If we don’t do a team workout, I have to get up at 6:00 am to do fitness bootcamp. That is rough.

   The Echo: How many dances will the Thunder Girls perform this season?

   Jackson: We have to learn and memorize two dances per home game, and there are 40 home games. So that’s 80 routines. It’s a lot, but we learn them throughout the season.

   The Echo: Did anything surprised you about your job?

   Jackson: I wasn’t expecting to love it so much! I’ve always loved to dance, but in this atmosphere we have so much fun, and I wasn’t expecting that. I love how everyone is for each other; I am loving dance more than I ever have before. And then the games… I mean, I’m sitting on the floor!

   The Echo: Do you have any favorite moments from working with the Thunder?

   Jackson: Yeah! We have to do community relation events, so we will do different things like visit schools or hospitals with groups of the girls. After the Moore tornado, we went and visited homes and talked to families. With one family, we helped surprise a 7-year old girl. Her home had been destroyed in the storm, and a bunch of businesses had donated supplies and furniture to redo it. When it was finished, we hid in her bedroom and surprised her when she came to see it for the first time. She just started crying. There was a staircase in her new house, and she said “I wanted stairs, and God gave me stairs.” She had so much faith! I just love getting to minister to people that I never would have met if I wasn’t a Thunder Girl. Also, the games are so much fun!

   The Echo: I have to ask, have you met any Thunder players?

   Jackson: I have met a couple, and it was amazing! I thought I was going to faint.