By Ethan Forman
The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
Former New England Patriots cheerleader and budding entrepreneur Michelle Nigro of Swampscott felt firsthand the disappointment on the field when the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants in February 2012.
She and other cheerleaders watched as the confetti was being rolled out in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but the squad had a gut feeling the game would not go the Patriots’ way. They lost, 21-17.
“It was heart breaking,” said Nigro, who cheered for the Pats from 2010 to 2015, with a year off in between.
Nigro did get to experience redemption with the Pats before she hung up her pompoms for good though.
At last year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, she and the rest of the cheering squad anxiously watched as the clock wound down on the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, battling back and forth, flashbacks of 2012 ever present on their minds.
“When that last play happened, it was so surreal,” said Nigro, referring to the goal line interception by rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler to give the Pats the victory.
A 2008 graduate of Swampscott High, Nigro has now turned her love of dance and her ability to juggle a hectic schedule into opening her own boutique fitness business called Town Barre and Fitness, which she started in October. At the same time, she works full time for a public relations firm called InkHouse in Waltham.
The grueling pace isn’t foreign to Nigro — an athlete, dancer and cheerleader in high school — she described being a Patriots cheerleader as akin to a full-time job — team practices twice a week, promotions to attend and practice outside of regular workouts. She cheered for the Patriots while in college, and still later while working a full-time job after graduating from Emerson College in 2012.