Try walking into a room of 18 Barbies. That was my first thought as I became a momentary Mavs Dancer.

Here's me, Kimber Westphall, getting a group hug before the Mavs Dancers and I hit the court.

Here's me, Kimber Westphall, getting a group hug before the Mavs Dancers and I hit the court.

Will Graham

Talk about intimidating.

I was there because of a sweet little dream, really. When I moved from small-town Kansas to Dallas in 2009, I attended my first NBA game and dreamed of joining the Mavs Dancers someday. In fact, I probably dreamed of this moment since I was a little girl.

Now, it's been 11 years since I've mimicked anything similar to a cheerleading move. But the Mavs Dancers made room for me as their honorary squad member for the preseason opener.

I just turned 30, you see, and being a Mavs Dancer for a night was on my bucket list.

I soon realized the Mavs Dancers may look like Barbies, but they were gracious and down-to-Earth as I prepared for the big day. I truly believed they wanted me to succeed and have "my moment." 

Over the remaining weeks, I nearly became obsessed with practicing the routine. In addition to the team practices I attended, I practiced in my living room day and night. Even when I went to bed, I would drift off to sleep going over eight counts.

Whiplash was something I didn't anticipate experiencing, but certainly did. The Mavs Dancers are notorious for their low-down dips and hair flips, and there were plenty sprinkled into the dance number I learned. One night of practice, I was nearly knocked on my rear from of a spell of dizziness. The dancers assured me it gets better over time.

The big moment

When game day rolled around, I jumped up out of bed gleefully. My stomach flipped and fluttered with each tick of the clock.

Ready or not, here I come!

Ready or not, here I come!

Tommy Noel

I arrived at the American Airlines Center that afternoon and was treated just like one of the dance team members. I was ecstatic to use the "employee" entrance, and get to primp in the locker room with my new friends. One of the dancers did my eye makeup. Even though she was younger than me (as they all were), I felt like she was my older sister, getting me ready for my first school dance. And I loved collecting their tips and tricks. I felt like I was getting secret scoop.

The butterflies intensified when we headed to the sacred tunnel. My heart was pounding heavier than I'd ever experienced. My legs felt like two floppy noodles and I couldn't catch my breath. I kept praying I could conjure up the gumption to fight through my nerves and perform.

The lights went down and the music erupted from the speakers, just like every other Mavs game I attended. Except this time I was the one on the court.

It was my moment! And not just the moment for my 30-year-old self. It was also the moment for the 10-year-old version of me, the little girl who had to shop in the Pretty Plus section at Sears because she was a little too doughy for the regular girl's department.

This was an experience I'd dreamt of for decades, and I thought it would always remain a dream. But I got to knock that bucket list item off with a big ol' checkmark.

I was Cinderella dressed up for the ball; I didn't want the clock to strike midnight and turn in my bedazzled belt and dancer shorts! For one night, I was a Mavs Dancer. It's a night I'll never forget.

By KIMBER WESTPHALL, SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR

Back row, center, blonde hair: That's Kimber Westphall, a momentary Dallas Mavs Dancer.

Back row, center, blonde hair: That's Kimber Westphall, a momentary Dallas Mavs Dancer.

Will Graham
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