This month’s Buffalo Jill of The Month is the now-retired 7th year vet Valerie. After 5 seasons happily letting others take the lead, she became a captain in 2011. Even before becoming a captain, she was setting good examples for her squadmates as she was always one of the friendliest girls on the squad with whomever she met and was also a photographer’s dream in many ways. Besides the fact that she’s obviously gorgeous, a fact not lost on Buffalonians who competed to win her as a prom date 3 years in a row, she can be very professional when getting photos taken, making sure the shot is flawless the 1st time. It’s very rare that she’s not ready for a photo. However, in addition to the normal photos that a photographer might request, she’s also been known to ham it up for some extra shots as well and her fun side always shines through in those extra photos.
Frequently, when young ladies try out for cheerleading squads, they join with some friends for several reasons. There’s moral support from someone they know going through the same thing and it can be pretty daunting to join a group of over 40 ladies if you don’t already know someone there.
On occasion, someone will try out based off the advice of a veteran who’s already on the squad. For example, Melissa from the Jills already knew Lindsey and Lisa before she joined in addition to the fact that she had a pair of Bandettes squadmates trying out with her. It seems to be more frequent that a pair or small group of girls will join at the same time, hoping they’ll all make it and build their friendships together as well as with others. While covering the Jills for the Buffalo Pro Cheer Blog, I’ve seen several pairs of girls join up together. Some have been sisters in the case of two pairs of twins that joined in consecutive years and many have been girls who either grew up together or became friends in college.
There have been two occasions that I saw a trio join up together and make it onto the Jills and once a group of four. In 2009, three girls who became close friends their freshman year of college joined the Jills’ Ambassador Squad and even though all but one switched to dance in 2010, they remained close and were always dubbed “The Three Musketeers.” Obviously not every girl has the same desires and 1 girl left after 2 years while the other pair just retired after their 4th season together.
Before Alyssa, Nicole, and Kristen though, there was another pair of Three Musketeers on the Jills and they did a lot together either as a group or as a subset of the group. Kaitlin B and Jessica Z were there with Valerie from the start and they got a lot of photos together at events and appearances the two years that Kaitlin and Jessica were on the squad. When 2008 tryouts came around and it was learned that Valerie was the only one of the three continuing on, I have to confess it was a bit of a shock.
Valerie was far from alone after the retirement of her two closest friends on the squad however. Valerie’s the type of young woman who makes friends very easily. She’s a lot of fun to be around and her melodic voice just makes you smile. People just naturally gravitate to her and two girls who joined the squad the year after her, Angelina and Lisa, became her closest friends.
From 2008 on, Val and Lisa tried out together each year until 2011 when Val was made a captain and Lisa a co-captain on separate lines. After that 2011 season, Val represented the Jills in the Pro Bowl and missed the Jills Comedy Show. A couple months later, she went with her father to her first Bandits game and made a point to visit with me for part of the game to catch up, to see a friend who was dancing on the Bandettes, and to let me know who her new co-captain would be for the 2012 season. Just by the big smile on her face when she asked me to guess, I knew it was Lisa.
You can read more about Val at http://buffalojills.com/profile.php?PID=57
When a young lady chooses to tryout for a professional cheer leading squad, there are many reasons to do so. Some want nothing more than to keep dancing while others are hoping it will advance their careers whether it be through modeling or just having something as prestigious as a spot on an NFL Cheer leading squad on their resume. The two biggest things any girl should take from their time as NFL Cheerleaders are memories and friendships and if anyone is an example of someone who did that, it’s Valerie.
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