Baton twirling means more to Aly Akers than just a sport; it’s her whole life.
Aly Akers is a fifth year senior at Oklahoma State University, and has been OSU’s feature baton twirler for the past five years. Obtaining that status hasn’t come without a lot of hard work. Still, being a twirler has changed Aker’s life and given her some of the greatest moments of her 22 years.
Baton twirling is more than just “throwing a stick like object in the air, it is extremely difficult and it takes a lot of practice. You have to be as flexible as a gymnast, have the an endurance of an athlete, and you need to have the eye hand coordination of a football receiver”
Aly comes from a generation of baton twirlers, and started at the age of three. Aly jokes around and explains during her childhood she wasn’t carrying a bottle in her hand, she was always carrying a baton. Aly’s mother started teaching her twirling moves, so that maybe one day she could also become a baton twirler.
Aly explains that having a mother and a grandmother who also baton twirled was very difficult to grow up with. “They always knew what I was doing wrong, what I needed to improve on, and all my family talked about was baton twirling 24/7” Aly said.
Although Aly felt pressured into becoming a baton twirler in her younger years, she expressed how grateful she is for having a family that is so supportive, and always having higher goals set for her to achieve. She understands why her family was so hard on her at an early age, and she is very grateful that she continues to push herself daily with the sport.
“It really means everything to me. Twirling has provided so many memories for me, has allowed me to meet so many exciting people, travel to many different places, and has also allowed me to receive scholarship money” Aly said.
Aly preformed at every halftime show for home games, and would sometimes travel with the team to root on the Cowboys.
During football season, Aly would practice with the marching band every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two hours. On top of that she practices on her own every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for two hours as well.
“Being a baton twirler for Oklahoma State University was definitely a life changing experience. “It has made me fall even more in love with OSU, than when I first saw the campus,” Aly said.
Aly’s favorite baton twirling memory with Oklahoma State was during her senior year on Bedlam, when OSU beat OU. “It was just so amazing being on the field, and feeling all of the love and energy from the fans. I was just so happy that I got to be apart of all that craziness, and be able to help cheer the Cowboys on to victory,” Aly said.
“I will never forget Bedlam, it was my senior year at OSU and will probably always be one of my favorite memories here. It was just such a proud moment in our history. I remember storming the field and seeing Aly’s face beaming with joy, not because she was shocked for our win, but because she knew our Cowboys had it in them to win. And I think that says a lot about her character, and who she is as a person. I am definitely going to miss seeing her on our field” Shannon Michael said.
On our campus, Aly has always been viewed as someone to look up to. “I just love when little girls come up to me and ask me to take a picture, or for my autograph, it makes me really proud of the commitment I’ve made over the past 19 years” Aly said.
Aly tries her best to be a role model not only for the younger Cowboy fans, but also for her fellow classmates.
Aly has defiantly left her mark here at Oklahoma State, and is truly an inspiration that OSU fans will never forget.
“Every football game, I always look forward to Aly leading the Cowboys on the field, you can just see how excited she is and how much she loves cheering on for OSU. She definitely makes the game more enjoyable” Melanie Gorski Freshman at OSU said.
Having Aly over the past five years, has truly been incredible, and has shinned as one of OSU’s brightest. OSU will never forget the compassion, and excitement she brought to every home game in Boone Pickens Stadium.
“Although I am graduating this May, I will always bleed orange, and cheer on my Cowboys. I hope that one day in the future I can pass this tradition down to my own daughter like my mother did for me, and what my grandmother did for her” Aly said.
Aly Akers: (580) 747-0978
Melanie Gorksi: (214) 957-0804
Shannon Michael: (214) 492- 3959