Taken from an article posted in the Pacific Daily News.
When the Seattle Seahawks open their 2009 NFL season at Qwest Field against the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 13, there may be some Chamorros in the stands but there will only be one on the field.
Pia Gillan recently earned a spot on the Sea Gals, a professional dance team that performs at Seahawks football games. The former Nimitz Hill resident made the team on May 3 after a weeklong process of three rounds of cuts and personal interviews. When Gillan made the team, she was shocked.
"It was pretty intimidating at first," the 22-year-old said, via telephone from Seattle. "We were just numbers ... when they called out my number, I didn't know it was me. I had to look down at my number."
Gillan made the 28-woman Sea Gal squad out of about 200 hopefuls. Sea Gal director Sherri Thompson said that Gillan will gain more confidence and energy from being a Sea Gal.
"She's a good dancer, very pleasant and confident," Thompson said, via telephone from Renton, Wash. "She is a very beautiful girl."
Gillan practices with the Sea Gals at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton. Aside from cheering for the Seahawks, the Sea Gals also make appearances.
When asked what advice she would give to other dance hopefuls, Gillan advised them to not be scared and to have fun with it.
"Everyone has a chance," she said. "I didn't know that I was going to make it, but I did."
Aside from being a Sea Gal, Gillan also graduated from Seattle University on Sunday. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and forensic science. Gillan said that she plans to go back to graduate school or to attend law school in the future.
Gillan also danced for the Seattle University Dance Team for her junior and senior years. Prior to that, she practiced with the school's rugby club.
In Guam, Gillan danced with the SKIP Entertainment Company for seven years. Michelle Esperon, who is now a manager of SKIP, danced with Gillan for about five to six years.
"She's really good," Esperon said. "She was always determined to get everything done."
Gillan was part of the team when they won the Overall Dance Championship at the International Grand Prix Festival in Cesena, Italy, in June 2002. The competition included dancers representing 23 countries from five continents, according to SKIP's Web site.
The 2005 Academy of Our Lady of Guam graduate quit dancing with SKIP to try playing sports in high school. She played rugby and soccer for Cougars during her junior and senior years.
While she was a senior in 2005, she traveled with the Para Todu Rugby Club for the Go Industry Henry Butcher National Rugby Tournament in Manila, Philippines. She helped the women's rugby club win the tournament.
The daughter of Lisa Sablan and Todd Gillan said she plans to visit Guam next summer.
"I really miss home," Pia Gillan said. "There will never be a place like Guam."