By Kieran Darcy
Page 2

It seems like every time I write a story for Page 2, the e-mail responses I receive fall into two general categories: The "I hate you because of your job" variety, and the "How can I get your job?" variety. Sometimes, they're a combination of the two. Well, get your typing fingers ready, 'cause this one's gonna kill you.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to get up close and personal with one particular high-profile professional sports squad, a team at the very top of its game, as it prepared for and competed in one of the biggest events of the year.

Without sports ... we'd still have no chance with Adrienne.

Did I say "year"? I meant decade. Maybe even century. Certainly, it was one of the biggest events of my lifetime.

Think World Series. Think Olympic Games. Think National Spelling Bee.

Think Super Bowl, too, because this team was there in Jacksonville last winter.

The competition was as tense, as exciting and ... well, as revealing as anything I've witnessed in my career covering sports.

It had drama.

It had pathos.

It had cheerleaders.

Lots of cheerleaders.

Lots of cheerleaders in revealing swimsuits.

Over the next several pages, you'll see exactly what I saw, right down to the nitty-gritty. If you want to call it that.

Piqued your curiosity yet? I thought so. So sit back, relax, get ready to click ... and write those e-mails.

I look forward to reading them.

Let's move on to GALLERY I | GALLERY II

Kieran Darcy is an editor for and contributor to ESPN The Magazine. You can reach him at