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It's Not About the Pom-Poms: How a 40-Year-Old Mom Became the NFL's Oldest Cheerleader--and Found Hope, Joy, and Inspiration Along the Way
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It's Not About the Pom-Poms: How a 40-Year-Old Mom Became the NFL's Oldest Cheerleader--and Found Hope, Joy, and Inspiration Along the Way

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3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
A forty-year-old cheerleader? When Laura Vikmanis, a single mom in Ohio, told friends that she wanted to be an NFL cheerleader, they said it would never happen. But she proved them all wrong. . . .

Laura Vikmanis has got spirit . . . and pom-poms, too! But before she stepped onto the field as the oldest cheerleader in the National Football League, she was sidelined by a ba
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Christine Grant
Jan 16, 2014 Christine Grant rated it it was ok
Shelves: weight-issues
Whine, whine, whine. I was suprised to read so many positive reviews of this book. It was difficult for me to stick with it. While it is inspirational to read that a 40-year-old woman can do anything she sets her mind to including becoming a NFL cheerleader, I disliked Ms. Vikmanis so intensely that it was hard to be inspired. She whines throughout the entire book. I get it. Your father sucked and your husband called you stupid. She reminds readers of this fact over and over again. She talks ...more
Dyanne
Aug 02, 2014 Dyanne rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
Although I appreciate the author's success in overcoming her abusive marriage and low self-esteem, her sometimes narcissistic tone grates on my nerves, and she often over-shares personal details that do not enhance the story. I cringe to think of her teenage daughters reading this book. One-night stands are nothing to be lauded. Sexual promiscuity does not make one brave. And, hey, do we all really need to know the author first masturbated at the age of twelve?
Elmira
Mar 27, 2012 Elmira rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from a Goodreads give-away, thank you!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into a life that appears so totally different from mine, even though Laura and I are the same age and each have two kids. I was almost shocked to discover how similar our experiences of motherhood were and to really feel a kinship with her. The book was well written, extremely entertaining (I especially loved the pictures!), and educational. There was an theme of women's rights and women's empowerment through
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Stacey
May 10, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing
I never thought I'd actually enjoy a book about a woman (a 40-year old woman!) trying to become a Ben-Gal :) From the very first page, Laura captured my attention. I enjoyed reading about Laura's personal life, as well as her cheer leading life. I had no idea cheer leaders are paid so little in such a high grossing sport!! Seems a bit unfair, considering the amount of money, practice and time the girls put into it! Thanks for the wonderful read!
Lance
Aug 02, 2014 Lance rated it it was ok
Shelves: sports, blog, football
Rating:
2 of 5 stars (disappointing)

Review:
On the surface, this book sounds like a real inspiration to anyone who thinks his or her dream cannot be achieved. Laura Vikmanis divorced her husband after fourteen bad years of marriage and was a single mother who wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She loved to dance in her younger days and became inspired to try out for the Ben-Gals, the cheerleading squad of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. She didn’t make the cut on her first try, but that didn’t s
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Maraezimmerman
Mar 20, 2012 Maraezimmerman rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book through Goodreads giveaway program.

I enjoyed this memoir that describes Laura Vikmanis' journey to rebuild her life after a devastating marriage and divorce by pursuing a dream that she had given up as a young woman. I love second-chance stories and stories about people challenging the status quo, and it's certainly challenging to get out there and try out for professional cheerleading, an activity that is traditionally "reserved" for
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Vicky
Dec 31, 2013 Vicky rated it it was amazing
I can't even remember how this book came on my radar, but after months sitting on my shelf I finally picked it up. I have a cold and so I thought it would be an easy and fun sick-bed read.

Laura's journey is crazy heart warming. Abusive relationships, lots of troubled times, but the joy she finds in dance and pursuing her dream is seriously inspiring.

As a former professional cheerleader it took me back to those days of dancing in the freezing cold in a leotard in the middle of a stadium. At the
...more
Wellington
Mar 11, 2015 Wellington rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography, sports

I chose this book from a recommendation from CNNSI to give a window in life as an NFL Cheerleader. More than half of the book was more about how Laura decided to become a cheerleader.

The working conditions of an NFL Cheerleader are horrid working for under minimum wage and making some serious lifestyle changes ... It makes feel sorry for the lowly NFL cheerleader, so I can't just ogle as I please.

Not sure if I would have enjoyed hanging out with the young Laura who was insecure and self-defeatin
...more
Katie
May 10, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing
I won this book on Goodreads and if I hadn't won it, I know I would not have picked it up. But I am so glad that I did win! I was so pleasantly suprised by this book! I had very little expectations but boy was I wrong!

The details of Laura's personal life were so fascinating and made me realize that she has not had an easy life where everything was given to her, as I have wrongly believed that many cheerleaders have had. It was inspirational the way that she worked so hard for something she loved
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Melissa
Dec 13, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
It's not about the pom-poms is really not about the pom-poms. It is a story of a woman who decides she wants to do something - to become a Bengal Tigers cheerleader - and does it. What makes this such an amazing story is that Laura was coming out of a terrible abusive marriage that had torn down all her self esteem and she was 40 years old. Before her marriage Laura was happy and athletic and she wanted to get that feeling back. When she saw the open call for the Ben-Gals she went for it, ...more
Minna
May 18, 2012 Minna rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A quick read.
More power to Ms. Vikmanis for taking back her life and fulfilling her dreams. I was especially pleased that she repeatedly took time to include her children in her plans and involve them in cheerleading events when appropriate.
However, she repeatedly mentioned feeling judged by others. Maybe she has more therapy to work through, because I doubt so many people thought so poorly of her as she said. Maybe in the 60s or 70s. Not in 2008. At least, not in Ohio. Cheer up Ms. Vikmanis!
...more
Kari
Apr 21, 2012 Kari rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Vikmanis was married to Brian for 14 years, a marriage that ended when she finally decided she did not need to put up with his verbal abuse any longer. With two young daughters and a damaged psyche, she starts to rebuild her life. A dancer and cheerleader when she was growing up, she decides that she wants to try out for the Cinncinati Cheerleading squad, the Ben-Gals, and she makes it! She becomes an inspiration to women (and men too I suppose) who hear her story and understand that they are ...more
Wendy
This is a breezy memoir that has moments. It's really two books. Part one of the narrative is all about empowerment as the author recalls her disastrous marriage, and her journey in self-discovery. Part two recounts the author's stint as a 40-year-old NFL cheerleader. In some parts it's quite raw, but the writing style is clear and engaging. The author finds her inner happiness through this journey, so that gives the book a positive takeaway as well. Vikmanis narrates her own audio book and this ...more
Kristen
Jun 12, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, whose best man at her wedding was Laura's ex-husband.

I have to admit, I was expecting the author to come across as a shallow, bubble-headed, bimbo. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she seems to be a very nice, intelligent, pulled-together, woman. She was able to remove herself from a bad marriage, and become a role model for her daughters of a strong, empowered woman. I found her book very inspirational! I wish I had the discipline she
...more
Sarah Walker
Apr 21, 2015 Sarah Walker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Laura's story was written in a straightforward, easy-to-read way that kept me wanting to know more. I enjoyed her point of view. And competitive cheerleading interests me, so this book drew me in when I picked it up (at the Dollar Tree of all places!) I agree with Laura that we each need to be our own cheerleader, as corny as that sounds. It's true. Give yourself credit for what you do. Sometimes you're the only one who will, and it makes a difference in your day :) Also, I think her story will ...more
Keryn
Oct 13, 2014 Keryn rated it did not like it
Ugh. I didn't have high expectations for this book, but I was intrigued by the title and thought it might be a fun, inspiring read. Instead, it was whine, whine, whine. While I appreciate the fact that she removed herself from an abusive marriage and pursued a life-long goal of becoming a cheerleader, she complained throughout the book about body issues even though she is a dietitian. I finished it only because I am trying to hit my book reading goal for the year, and even then, I barely made it ...more
Amanda Callas
May 04, 2012 Amanda Callas rated it really liked it
Fave lines.....

I will begin to believe the cruel things he says About me, the words he hurls in my face. I will lose my nerve, my laughter. I will lose my
Spirit until one day, I won't even remember that I had one.

I couldn't tie my self-worth to someone else's opinion of me.



His positive attention was
Like a glucose drip and when he withdrew it, even for a moment, I felt like I was dying.
Lana
Jan 03, 2015 Lana rated it liked it
It was an interesting peek inside the realities of bring a professional football cheerleader. I would have enjoyed it more and it would not detracted from the content or purpose of the book, however, if she had left out some of the grittier and foul adjectives and acronyms when describing various events.
Becca
Mar 05, 2013 Becca rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I would probably say 3.5 stars actually. I won this on first reads. It was a quick, easy read. At times I found myself annoyed with the author because I did not agree with various decisions she made but it was well written. I don't think it was inspirational though. I am glad others found inspiration in it.
T
Mar 20, 2012 T rated it liked it
This is a good choice of book to read for those football and/or cheerleading fanatics. Those with little to no self esteem, been through hardships and emotional/physical abuse by their spouses or really anyone in general. Those looking to pick themselves up, setting out to prove others wrong and follow a dream, it was a inspiring story to say the least.
Shannon
May 03, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I absolutely can't wait to read this book!!! I'm a single mom and getting scarely close to the big 4-0!!! So any inspiration is much needed!! This sounds like a fun book but I betting I'm going to learn alot and think alot along the way!!
Ember
May 28, 2012 Ember rated it liked it
This book was very interesting, due to the sheer fact that I didn't know a lot about professional cheerleaders in the NFL. After reading the book, I think for all the work they do, they should be compensated more!
Elizabeth
Jun 26, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Interesting story ... she set her goal, worked hard to achieve it, and set a great example for her daughters in the process.
Logan
Oct 05, 2014 Logan rated it it was ok
Interesting. The title "It's Not about the Pom-Poms" refers to Laura Vikmanis' pursuit of becoming an NFL cheerleader in the face of an abusive childhood and marriage (divorce).
Becky Carver
May 09, 2013 Becky Carver rated it really liked it
As an ex-cheerleader I really LOVED this book! It was so interesting to me to read about what goes on behind the scenes.
Meg
Dec 06, 2014 Meg rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but it got a bit preachy at the end. Since I love football, it was interesting to read some information from the perspective of a NFL cheerleader.
Maryellen
Apr 12, 2012 Maryellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
Cute memoir about a woman who fights her way out of an unpleasant life, and through her own hard work finds success. Good for her!
MaryJS
Mar 23, 2013 MaryJS rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
3/20/13
Stephanie
Stephanie rated it really liked it
May 05, 2016
Melia
Melia rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2015
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