Monday, September 8, 2014

Repost of my review of Deep In The Heart of Texas: Reflections of Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders...

I'm reposting this old review of a shallow book I read about three sisters who were members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in the 70s and 80s because today I've spent a couple of hours watching their reality show...


"Deep" is not a word that should be used to describe this particular book...

Nov 5, 2010 (Updated Feb 7, 2011)

Review by knotheadusc


Rated a Very Helpful Review


Pros:Titillating read. May interest those who want to know more about the DCC.
Cons:Poorly written. Shallow and vapid. Really makes the authors look like bimbos.
The Bottom Line:This book is worth reading only because the authors are clearly delusional.


I probably shouldn't confess to this, but I find CMT's reality television show, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team a true guilty pleasure. While I have never been a follower of professional football played by the Dallas Cowboys or any other team, I do remember being a little kid and hearing all about the famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC). I also remember seeing them. Even in Virginia, lots of little girls dreamt of growing up and wearing DCC's skimpy little western inspired outfit and prancing around on a football field. I was not one of those little girls, but I guess I might have admired the outfit for a moment or two. Besides, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders even got to be on The Love Boat, and what kid of the 70s and 80s didn't admire that? In case anyone is wondering, yes, I'm being facetious.

Anyway, season five of Making the Team started a few weeks ago and I've been hooked again, even though my husband Bill has told me he thinks the show is pretty pointless. It's basically the same formula every year. CMT showcases a bunch of "rookie" cheerleaders seeking entry into that mystical realm of Texas society, membership in the DCC. Bill actually said to me that he didn't understand why people would be interested in watching the show, since the stories are basically always the same. Perhaps I should be very proud that my husband (who is officially a Texas resident, but doesn't like football) doesn't notice the group of 40 or so beautiful women in their physical prime, gyrating around in spandex hot pants and bras.

I got so hooked on the show that I started reading the forum about it on Television Without Pity, a hilarious Web site that encourages television viewers to unleash snark and ridicule on TV's most popular shows. And it was through Television Without Pity that I discovered the 1991 book, Deep in the Heart of Texas: Reflections of Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. This book, which is now mercifully out of print, is credited as having been written by Suzette, Stephanie, and Sheri Scholz, three Texas born sisters who were members of the DCC squad in the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s.

While there have been pairs of sisters who have made the DCC squad, to my knowledge, the Scholz sisters are the only group of three who have made it. I guess it's fair to mention that Sheri Scholz was only a member for about eight months in the mid 1980s, while Suzette and Stephanie were members together from the late 70s until 1982. Though all three sisters are credited with writing this book, it really seems to have been written by middle sister, Stephanie. The sisters also contacted other past members of the DCC for input into this "unauthorized" tell all about what it's like to be a member of the DCC. Using pseudonyms and mixing up dates, people, and places, the Scholz sisters inject some insights from other former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders without giving away their true identities. I guess this was a means of protecting them from being blacklisted or something.

As the Scholz sisters explain it, back in the late 70s and early 80s, football and making money were somewhat of a religion in Texas. The Scholz sisters were born to an ambitious dentist turned orthopedic surgeon and his image conscious social climber of a wife. The three young ladies were raised to be beautiful and marry well. Their mother made sure they hung out with the right crowd, had the right clothes, and looked beautiful at all times. The girls were involved in dance, cheerleading, and beauty pageants and their mother saw to it that they were fully engaged at all times so they wouldn't get "in trouble". It was only natural that Suzette Scholz, as the oldest daughter, would eventually try out for the DCC and make it, followed by younger sisters Stephanie and Sheri.

According to this book, back in the 70s and 80s, members of the DCC were only paid about $15 per game, plus the occasional appearance fee (nowadays they get $150 per game). They were not paid for the many hours of rehearsals they put in, nor were they paid for all the makeup and clothes they had to buy to look the part. Apparently, it was (and still is) forbidden for any member of the DCC to be out in public not looking like a million bucks. That means each member had to cake on makeup, maintain a perfect figure, and dress to the nines, even when running out to the grocery store for a loaf of bread. But being a member of the DCC also cracked open many doors to the glamourous life. The women had the opportunity to date men who had a lot of money, though they were forbidden from dating football players (apparently a few of them did, anyway). Some of them got to travel all over the world and some found that their association with DCC opened up opportunities in the entertainment world.

Exposure to all of this glamour came with a price. The Scholz sisters reveal that they were encouraged to do anything they had to to keep their weight down. Some of the cheerleaders resorted to snorting cocaine. Most apparently starved themselves while they pushed their bodies through grueling rehearsals and performances every week. Some of the ladies were harassed by obsessed fans, though they were also required to be very nice to everyone they met. Apparently, it was also extremely easy to be cut from the squad for the smallest infractions. In fact, I got the sense that the ladies who were members of the DCC were almost in a cult, constantly under pressure to look, say, and do the right thing at all times or else be cast out of the group. Anyone who didn't assimilate was quickly shown the door.

My thoughts

To be honest, this book is very poorly written. It's chock full of spelling and editing errors and is written in an airheaded, breathless style that brings to mind the lightweight novels favored by teenaged girls. The book is peppered with cliches and corny metaphors that really make the writing seem a bit hackneyed.

The Scholz sisters also do a lot of vacillating between praising their time in the DCC to complaining about it. One minute, they're gushing about how, back in the day, more people allegedly recognized them than Princess Diana; the next, they're complaining about how cruel Suzanne Mitchell, then director of the Cheerleaders, was to anyone who had an ounce of extra fat, driving a lot of the women to develop eating disorders. By the way, I suspect some of the members of the DCC were entertaining some serious delusions of grandeur. I highly doubt that even in their heyday, they were as popular and recognizable worldwide as the Scholz sisters claim.

It's interesting to read this book from the aspect of learning about the history of the DCC, but I don't think the Scholz sisters did the organization any favors. Even though they mostly claim that they loved being in the DCC, they also come off as very shallow and vapid. Moreover, they reveal a lot of questionable stuff that went on back when the Cowboys were especially popular. Despite some of their tales of woe, they still insist that being in the DCC was the time of their life.

This book does include photos, some of which are in color. The Scholz sisters are pictured on the front of the book, all three sporting big, bleached blonde hair and very low cut dance outfits made of spandex and metallic material that immediately brings to mind the Solid Gold Dancers. There's also an unfortunate photo toward the back of the photo section that pretty much defines the excess of the 80s. Three generations of Scholz women are photographed, looking as if they took in a photoshoot at Glamour Shots. Think lots of sequins, big hair, and big toothy smiles.

Incidentally, all three of the Scholz sisters did "marry well". All three are (or were) married to prominent Texas surgeons. And before they got engaged, their father had a talk with each prospective husband, inquiring as to how each young man intended to support his daughters in the manner to which they were accustomed. Apparently, their mother was in a rush to see the girls get married, since she and her now former husband were anxious to make sure the girls were virgins on their wedding days. If you have any feminist leanings whatsoever, this part of the book might really be a turn off!

Overall

I guess the main thing that comes out loud and clear to me is that, according to the Scholz sisters, the DCC is a lot like a stereotypical sorority. If you don't mind being valued solely based on your looks and ability to deliver high kicks, I guess that's not a terrible thing. But after reading this book, I found myself glad to have perfectly average looks and no ambition to be one of "America's Sweethearts".

As somewhat titillating as this book was for me to read, I can't, in good conscience, recommend it because it's not a very well-written book. It's also out of print, so it may not be easy to find anyway. On the other hand, I guess I don't mind reading a little trash every once in awhile, even if it's poorly written.

Recommend this product? No


2 comments:

  1. Awesome....I might buy a copy of the book simply for kicks...kinda like the 'Making of a Royal Marriage' a little fact scattered with a whole lot of fairy dust and glitter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's entertaining in a vapid sort of way, I guess.

      Delete

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