It was bound to happen. It is my turn to dust off my dancing shoes and make my Dancing With the Stars debut. This annual dance competition raises money for the Cancer Society of America.

Cheryl Madden started the event in 2016 and so far it has raised over $49,000. This year she has handed the reins over to Jennifer Johnson, who has managed to get at least a half-dozen acts so far. This annual event has gained quite the following over the past few years, which guarantees plenty of witnesses to my performance. Is it too early for stage fright?

As I mentally prepare for this challenge, I am reminded of the first time I donned a pair of dancing shoes. I was 5 and all I wanted in life was to be a ballerina. My first recital was a huge success, according to my mom and nana, and I just knew that stardom was in the cards for me. Life has dealt me many cards since then; being center stage with the New York Ballet Company was not one of them. In fact I have been told on more than one occasion that I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. My sweet dance moves range from sporadic knee jerky movements ala Elaine of “Seinfeld” to Texas two stepping ... on my partner’s feet. Hopefully my partner, who is a talented dancer and performer, will be patient with me as I muddle my way through this.

There is more to this ordeal than the mental aspect. I have come to the realization that I also have to physically prepare outside of our bi-weekly practices. Lucky for me we have a fantastic trail system that I can walk/run along to get that much-needed cardio in. I took advantage of the nice weather and went for a run last weekend. The beauty of Buffalo wasn’t lost on me as I made my way along the Clear Creek Trail towards the Veterans Home. Clear Creek is flowing pretty freely now, with signs of spring all around. I paused to catch my breath and saw a rock chuck sunbathing along the creek. He looked at me with a “Don’t Worry be Happy” expression, which was encouraging since I was indeed worried, as I was gasping for air, that I may be in need of a helicopter rescue. I pushed on and when I reached the end of the route I realized I covered four miles of trail, not too shabby for a beginner.

I will keep training and practicing and hopefully will see you all at the show on May 18 at Bomber Mountain Civic Center. Best-case scenario, we crush our routine and join the ranks of past winners or, worst-case scenario, I make a total fool of myself in front of everyone – either way it’s for a good cause.  

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