Like game day, for dancers

COMING SOON: Video of Friday night’s performance by Billy and Cortney

Sitting in the dressing room behind the stage of Friday night’s first “Dancing with the Lee County Stars,” I had a talk with Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter — yes, the same Tracy Carter who was the subject of my “attack ads” leading up to the event.
I asked him if he ever played sports in high school or college … because the butterflies I had — that queasy feeling in my gut that kept me from eating any of the “Taste of Lee County” that had assembled — reminded me of high school football back in Texas. On game days back then, I would get so excited I could barely eat throughout the day, and by game time, I would usually throw up anything I had eaten.
Then I’d be fine.
Sorry to be so graphic, but the good news is that Friday, sitting in the dressing room behind the stage at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center where more than 800 (I’m told … it sure looked it) gathered for the big Communities in Schools fundraiser, I didn’t throw up. And by the time my partner Cortney McCullough and I took the stage, those nerves became adrenaline …
And we danced.
I had an absolute blast at DWTLCS, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I was ever asked. The whole experience — from being asked to meeting my partner and dancing for hours in tiny offices and eventually a big aerobics room — was unforgettable. The fact that we performed in front of a packed house (on a night where we even had to compete with high school football) was just icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, we didn’t win. I would say “we was robbed,” but Cortney and I messed up a tad on our “Billie Jean” routine, and I suppose the lack of “perfect 10s” was warranted. In other words, I’m not bitter … much.
I’m just happy I was able to be involved. And I think you can ask the other 14 couples who competed (including Miss North Carolina Katherine Southard), we had no idea it would be this much fun.
I came away with an understanding of why so many celebrities and professional athletes are flocking to compete in the big televised “Dancing with the Stars.” Whether you come into it thinking dancing’s for sissies or whether you enjoy it, once you get involved, your competitive spirit takes over.
I won’t lie, I wanted to win, as did Cortney. I promise I didn’t risk looking like a Michael Jackson-impersonating fool just for the kicks. That said, Carl Bryan and Dana Slate deserved the high score (and Carter and his partner, Janel Livingston blew the roof off the place as well).
But I found myself surprised at my lack of anger or disappointment when we weren’t chosen. On the TV show, you always see the couple who got booted off say, “It’s OK. This was such an amazing experience … yadda, yadda, yadda.”
Well, you know what? I understand it now, and I understand why so many athletes get involved as well. The big event certainly has a game day feel.
I want to thank Kim Pritt, Laura Biediger, Holly Riley and Tina Smith for getting me involved and cheering us all on … I want to thank my partner Cortney and the other 14 couples for their hard work and great attitudes, and I want to thank the hundreds of you who volunteered and showed up to Friday’s social event.
Seriously. I’ve never seen that many people in Lee County show up to one event.
And finally, I want to thank my beautiful wife, Jennifer, whose support was endless and who understood all those nights I had to leave work early for practice, only to have to go back to work late. We’re five weeks away from having our first child, and hopefully I can focus more on that without having an eight count running in the back of my mind at all times.
“Dancing with the Lee County Stars” was a success. Communities in Schools topped its fundraising goal by a mile, and I have a feeling a lot of people went home happy.
Count me as one of them.

VIDEOS: Below are the two “pre-routine” videos Cortney and I produced, and below the videos are my attack ad against Tracy Carter and his response.

Billy’s ad against Tracy Carter:″

Tracy’s response to Billy’s attack ad:″


One thought on “Like game day, for dancers

  1. Billy – you were wonderful and I am positive no one noticed you messed up (I know I didn’t – I thought it was perfect!). All 15 couples were incredible – their hard work paid off – big time! A lot went into this event and a lot of people deserve a great deal of thanks and recognition, but it was the dancers that made it a success!!!! And it was the fun, energetic, and entertaining performances that will have people begging for tickets for next year’s event as soon as we announce the date! Each and every one of you were WINNERS!

    Thank you for your participation!

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