By Raymond R. Beltran
When was the last time you were able to hang out, eat some appetizers, have some drink specials and wait … with twenty-two cheerleaders from a major league sport in San Diego?! When? Well, here’s your chance. The San Diego Gulls Girls 5th Annual Swimsuit Calendar Release Party is here, and it’s open for the whole family!
But, hang on, gentlemen. It’s not just short skirts and dancing out there on the ice. These girls do their part for the people as well. “This event is raising money for the Helen Woodward Charity for animal causes,” says Diana Arpon, a Zacatecaz native and current Gull Girl. “We are also supporting the 9/11 ride, where these motorcycle guys ride all over the U.S. and help gather money for everyone who was involved with the 9/11 attacks.” The Gulls Girls, as an organization, have also supported events and charities such as the Inner City Games, United Cerebral Palsy, the Jerry Lewis Telethon, and the Second Chance to Adopt-a-Block.
As far as being a Gulls Girl, Diana says it’s the young children that usually make the job fun. “The best part is seeing the little faces on kids,” she says. “It’s not just about being a great dancer. You interact with kids, and dancing is only a part of it. It’s talking to them in a positive way, and giving them influence to stay in school. We talk to them everyday, and they’re the ones coming up to us. So, we like to give them positive reinforcements.”
Gulls Girl Diana Arpon is a National City resident and student at Southwestern College. Diana and her sisters were raised by their grandmother in Zacatecas, Mexico while her mother was preparing them for migration in the United States. “It was nature and there was no mall. There’s animals and farms. Everyone knows each other, there’s no violence,” says Diana. “You’re very, very close. You’re family is very close. I’m going back in December and I can’t wait, it’s the most humbling place you could be at.”
Diana made the move to the states when she was only six, and had some difficulty adjusting for a couple of years, as people often do, but she struggled and applied our hardworking ethics and succeeded. “People looked at me like, ‘Who’s this little beaner girl?’ Kids don’t care that much. They’ll try to hurt your feelings,” says Diana, reminiscing on her adolescent years as a Mexican in the U.S. “I really had to study. Me and my sisters would hang out with friends and watch television, and we just picked up English from watching T.V.”
Since then, Diana has achieved success in her many endeavors. She has won an outstanding defense award in both volleyball and basketball. She’s won an outstanding sprinter award in track and field, an outstanding dancer award at both Sweetwater High School and for the Sweetwater Hall of Fame. I guess she’s pretty outstanding, and it doesn’t stop at being a Gulls Girl because Diana already has her mind set on the silver screen.
With all of her success going on, she still hasn’t lost sight of who she is. “You still know you’re Mexican,” Diana says about people like her making the transition into the states. “You’re pride is still there when you’re getting to know the different world. We grew up and it’s wild.”
And, she even has plans of her own for her hometown in Zacatecaz. “School is very important. It’s up to you to finish. After I pursue my dreams, I want to open up a school where kids can learn fine arts, dance, and learn about computers, where they can learn to speak and write English. That way, they know they have opportunities to make something of their life.”
But, … oh yeah, sorry fellas, back to the swimsuit calendar event. The activities included will be a behind the scenes video sneak preview, a “first look” calendar presentation, a preliminary calendar purchase opportunity, a raffle drawing, and the best part: an autograph signing session with the entire 2002-2003 Gulls Girls team! The event takes place on October 24th at 7 p.m. at the Cannibal Bar, located inside the Catamaran Resort Hotel in Mission Bay. Once again, ladies and children, this event is open for everyone. So grab the $10 admission fee and support the Girls.