By Corrin Davis
Sports are all about the adversary.
Sweat flying off bodies, moving faster than Michael Jackson, the wild arms swinging out to snatch the ball from the other team. Crashing helmets, as boys growl through their mouth guards and shove shoulders for just a few more yards. But the unseen adversary is sometimes the biggest, and Jillian Kalhorn, freshman cheerleader, knows this very well.
When Kalhorn was nine, she found herself at a Loy Norrix game, staring at her new crush: the cheerleading team. To her, they were all smiles, having the most fun she could imagine. And, as with all crushes, she dreamed. Dreamed of being part of the team. Dreamed of what her parents had reassured her of; she would make most of her friends from the sport she joined.
But, as with all crushes, there had to be a rival. In middle school, Kalhorn was told that she couldn’t do it. It only served to fan the flames; she was all the more determined to be a cheerleader. Despite her best efforts, she didn’t make her middle school team. The opposition seemed overwhelming. Kalhorn fought back, though, trying harder, pounding the pavement at Milwood and increasing her flexibility by doing stretches.
Her dad had told her, “You try your hardest, if that’s what you want to do with the rest of your life,” and she took this to heart.
Kalhorn overcame the adversity in high school, finally making the team. Like a girl in love, she was thrilled. As she spins in her chair and glances up to the side, a small smile slides onto her face as she looks back, remembering. Her tryout had been at a different time than the rest, but when it came time to find out who made the team, all the girls were together.
When the girls heard that they had made it, it was as if their crush had said that he liked them back. Excitement spilled across the group, smiles spreading from one face to the next. Even if it was only JV, they had made it. Soon, the girls sat together, asking questions, learning about each other, and what the others were like. According to Kalhorn, this really helped them bond. Most of her current friends are from the cheer team.
There’s been a lot of drama, though.
When asked to expand on it, Kalhorn took a small breath as a pause, then said, “[there’s] people thinking they’re better, when they’re not… talking behind each others backs,” a hint of shortness was present as she looked away. She added that things were forgiven now. It takes a lot to do that when someone talks behind your back, though, calling you a b**** and saying other mean things.
Taking a deep breath, she confessed, “If she had not talked behind my back, we could have been friends.” Disappointment registered on her face clearly.
She sat for a second, pausing, then added, “Or if she had apologized.” Kalhorn took a minute to think about this, clearly remembering the event, then moved on to talk about practice.
When practice first started, crying and screaming could be heard from the hallway outside of Loy Norrix’s back gym from 6 to 7:30 pm as the girls repeated the same drills over and over, restarting whenever a single mistake was made.
Kalhorn admitted, “I thought I was going to quit. It was so intense.”
Once the team became set, and no one else was dropping out, the practices were less intense, with more breaks for water and rest, and the thought of quitting disappeared. A good thing because by sticking with it, she’s defeated the odds and won against the adversity.
A proud member of the Loy Norrix cheer team, she’s got a lot to show for her win; even her facebook photo is proof of her friendship with Jazmyn Jackson, her close friend from cheer.