New Memoir American Sweetheart: Still Not Making the Team Urges Readers to be Their Own Cheerleader

Top Quote Dr. Chiufang Hwang tells an inspiring story about how dedication and confidence can knock down any barriers in life. End Quote
    Quote You're never too old, to make changes in your life. You're never too old. Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 06, 2016 - Dallas - It's an underdog story like those featured in some of the greatest sports movies of all time. A newcomer with a lot of talent and heart overcomes great odds to rise to the pinnacle of her athletic career. This is the story of Dr. Chiufang Hwang, a 50-year-old psychiatrist trying out to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

    In American Sweetheart: Still Not Making the Team, Hwang chronicles the highs and lows of trying out for the team more than 10 times, starting in 1999 when she was 33 years old.

    Hwang recalls that first tryout in the grandeur of Texas Stadium, where so much football history had been made, and how it made her feel a part of something much larger than herself. Growing up in a Taiwanese family, it also made her feel uniquely American.

    "This is the American Dream. The Cowboys are the American team," she told a news reporter recently. Her perennial attempts to join the team have become a favorite for local news crews wanting to show the hope and heart in a story about a woman facing off against teenagers for just a few spots on the team.

    Becoming a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader has always been a dream of hers, starting when she was in her early 30s. Even in her native Taiwan, there is something iconic about the Dallas Cowboys and their cheer squad. Joining the squad has become her Everest. She trains just as hard as the next competitor, harder even, because the challenges are tougher. She takes dance lessons with high schoolers who mistake her for the teacher.

    Throughout the years, there have been ups and downs. In 2012, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She takes medication to dull the pain in her hands and feet, but it has not stopped her from continuing to chase her goal.

    Even if becoming a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader remains just a dream, the reality is still something she is proud of. After all, not only is she more fit than ever before, she can also dance and perform far better than she could have even when she was 20.

    "I do not have a dance background," she said. Growing up, her family kept her isolated from recreational sports, and the football that was so important to her peers. "Participating in the tryouts is my way of experiencing what I missed as a teenager. I wasn't given dancing lessons like other girls, so now, later in life, I want to see what that's like, even though I'm old enough to be the mother of these girls at the tryouts."

    This kind of dedication out of one diagnosed with RA is inspirational, to say the least. Hwang wants other people to catch it, too. "I'm not going to be as good as these girls are, because they're at a place where they can learn more. I think I've plateaued. There's only so much you can do, when you start at 35," she said in a news report. "You're never too old, to make changes in your life. You're never too old," she said.

    American Sweetheart can be purchased online through SDP Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. Hwang has two previous books, Grown-up Child and Journey From Taiwan. For more information about Dr. Chiufang Hwang, visit and connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.

    About the Author
    Decades ago, Chiufang Hwang would most likely be spotted with her nose in a book. Now, she is more likely to be seen with her face on its cover. She received her doctor of medicine degree from the University of Texas' School of Medicine, and followed it up with a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. She will serve as president of the alumni association, starting in 2017. In 2016, she was a commencement speaker, and she also spoke at the class of 2019 White Coat Ceremony, which welcomes future doctors.

    On the entertainment front, she has appeared in various commercials and infomercials, such as the Total Gym workout infomercial with Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley. She has written two previous memoirs.

    She lives in Dallas with her husband and two sons.

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