Achieving dreams

By Karina Zanyk Mclean & Megan Bartlett
now at dow & staff writer

According to Oxford’s dictionary, the definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. DHS has many sport teams including basketball, football and tennis. However, the DHS Pom Pon team is officially labeled a club by the school system.

Captain Brooke Nemeth, a junior, explains why she thinks many people don’t see pom for what it really is.

“They only see us perform,” Nemeth said. “When we perform we smile, we look happy and we make it look easy. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to make it look easy even though it’s not. I think they come to conclusions just from what they see.”

Junior and varsity pommer Kayla Thornton also believes that pom is not widely understood in the student population.

“I don’t think anyone could really come into pom and understand,” Thornton said. “With pom, there are certain ways you have to do things and I just don’t think people could come into it knowing how to do it. I don’t think people understand how hard we work at practice. People think we’re just sitting around dancing and that’s not what it’s like it all.”

However, many pommers believe that it takes a lot of dedication to achieve their goals.

“Pom becomes your life,” senior captain Sam Leslie said.

Leslie went on to explain that members of the fall pom team are expected to attend a summer camp which takes place for four days in August. They practice three to four days a week from June to August for two hours. Once school starts they practice four days a week and perform at games on Fridays. After the fall season ends, pommers immediately begin winter season where they practice two hours a day, six days a week.

“Basically, we average 5 days a week for 10 months out of the year,” Leslie said.

This extensive practice schedule allows for the team to attend a regional and state competition in early 2012. This year, the team qualified to be in Class A, Division One, making them the second pom pon team in DHS history to do so. The team qualified into Division One with a score of 80.3 percent, and placed 12th.

“To be in division one, you get a score of 80 percent or higher,” Nemeth said. “That’s pretty hard to get. The teams in division one are insanely good. We weren’t expecting to do very well, which was okay because even if you get into division one you’re still beating all of the division two people. It’s really an honor.”

Some members of the DHS pom team not only compete in the school season, but are also members of the Mid-American Pom Pon team, which will be performing at the London Olympics this year.

“We’re invited to this showcase that’s taking place the week before the opening ceremonies,” sophomore Gina Tolfa said. “There are a lot of dancers from different places performing as well, and we’re performing a routine in the big dance showcase.”

Eight students from DHS are part of the team, which has over one hundred of the best pommers from all over the state. The girls can choose to try out for the All-Star team, which performs at Detroit Tigers games, Detroit Pistons games, and the America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit.

“It’s a really good experience to meet a lot of new girls from around the state who have the same passion as you,” Tolfa said. “You make lasting friendships.”

This year, the varsity pom team has made better friendships with the members of the JV team through pom sisters. Each varsity pommer is a “sister” to a JV team member.

“Basically, we have time at the end of practice where we show each other our routine,” sophomore McKenzie Laursen, a member of the varsity pom team, said. “We give them corrections and stuff like that. We’re there for moral support really, and we go to watch their performances when we can.”

Laursen believes that this helps to make both pom teams much closer together.

“We’re all one big family,” Laursen said.

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