Two Buffalo Jills cheerleaders will celebrate the last game of the 2009 season just the way they started ten years ago...cheering and dancing together on the sidelines for the Bills at Sunday's home game vs. the Colts at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Omarlla, 31, from Buffalo and originally from Syracuse, and Eileen, 28, from Cheektowaga, both started with the Jills in 2000 and have now cheered in over 100 games. The girls have had a unique perspective of attending Bills games for the past decade on the sidelines, and credit the Bills fans for their longevity.
"I love Bills fans," said Omarlla, a Pro Bowl cheerleader in 2004. "We have the best in the league. Bills fans bring so much energy to the game."
Eileen, also a Pro Bowl cheerleader in 2006, said, "I think our fans are great. A lot seem to learn your name after a while and have nice things to say, and they cheer us on!"
In addition to cheering, both veteran young ladies are heavily involved in the community.
Omarlla's community service includes time with the Children's Hospital, visiting the United States troops overseas, American Red Cross, local elementary schools, Make-A-Wish and even the recent Extreme Home Makeover that just took place in Buffalo. Eileen is also involved in numerous community endeavors, but her favorite event is working with young girls in the Junior Jills program teaching them how to dance, do their hair, apply makeup, work on their overall appearance, be courteous and act classy. Eileen's advice to young girls is simple, "Be yourself."
The two Jills have seen a lot and have had some memorable experiences during their ten years on the sidelines.
Omarlla said, "I have been to a lot of away games throughout the years and no fans compare to our fans. There are a group of fans that dress with chef hats that have been in the same section for years and they always cheer the loudest for us when we walk past them, and I have to give special recognition to our ultimate number one Jills fan, Phil, who has shown so much support throughout the years."
Being a Jills cheerleader has opened up some doors for both Omarlla and Eileen allowing them to travel all across the country.
Omarlla has her master's degree in education from Buffalo State College and works as a Curriculum/Assessment Coordinator and loves working with kids. Omarlla's advice applies to everyone, "Just be confident and give it your all."
Eileen has appeared on television shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and ESPN Hollywood, and was in publications like Football Action Girls of the NFL and Maxim online. She also attended Buffalo State and is currently a legal assistant.
Both girls said their mother is their role model and Eileen remembers her mom's words of encouragement, "You'll never know unless you try."
The girls both still enjoy cheering and have made many friends with other Jills and cheerleaders from across the NFL. "I have experienced so many wonderful things as a Buffalo Jill for the last 10 years," said Omarlla. "It's become a huge part of my life." Eileen said, "What I like most about being a Buffalo Jill is the opportunity to perform and all the memories and friendships I've made along the way."
The 10-year anniversary Jills are not done cheering yet. "I'm still having so much fun and enjoy being a part of the organization," said Omarlla. "I would love to continue with the Jills," said Eileen. "I think I'll plan to move on when it's time to get married and start a family."
For now, these two community oriented girls are still excited to be Jills and are already looking forward to next season. Their cheerful advice was what you'd expect from ten-year veterans.
"Have a little faith and be optimistic," said Eileen. Omarlla is just as positive, "Each year I am hopeful for the team, but I truly believe that next year is our year!"