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upworthy
Joy

Her entire squad quit before the state cheerleading competition. She cheered anyway.

"I've put a lot of time into cheer. It's just always been a part of who I am, so I didn't want to end on that note."

cheerleading; cheer competition; Morrill High School; cheered alone

Her entire squad quit before the state cheerleading competition.

Cheerleading is supposed to be a team activity. Most squads have anywhere from 10 to 20 cheerleaders and some have even more than that. But one squad in Nebraska had just four girls, and less than two weeks before the Nebraska State Cheer and Dance Championships, all but one cheerleader had quit.

Most kids would've followed suit so close to a big competition and without teammates, but Katrina Kohel, a senior at Morrill High School, decided she was still going to compete—even if it meant she would have to do it alone. Talk about being brave in the face of disappointment. This girl decided she was going to cheer in the competition and she did, without much care for what others thought.

The competition wasn't just the next town over. It was five hours away, so Kohel and her coach, April Ott, really had to mull it over before committing to making that drive, according to Business Insider. In the end, the teen decided that she didn't want to just sit in the crowd or stay home; she wanted to perform the routine she spent so much time learning. But the routine required the entire squad, so before they could make the trip, they had to figure out how to make it a one-person routine.


"I've put a lot of time into cheer. It's just always been a part of who I am, so I didn't want to end on that note. I wanted to go out on a high one. For that to come true, I didn't want to end it just by going to watch state. I wanted to compete." Kohel told Business Insider. So the lone cheerleader and her coach got to work redoing the routine so it made sense with just one person cheering.

The pair told the Omaha World-Herald that they had to rework the whole performance in a week and a half. It was really a battle of sheer will since Kohel was determined to do her best on the mat without her team. Kohel admitted to the outlet that she was nervous, but no one would have known it.

"She was completely confident the whole week that we practiced," Ott told Business Insider. "It was just 100% confidence, and she just owned it."

This cheerleader was absolutely unstoppable and she had her family's full support. Even Ott's daughter, who was previously a cheerleader at the same high school, tagged along to cheer her on. Kohel's grandparents stood in for her parents because her brother had a state wrestling tournament and her parents are the coaches. But don't worry, they were able to see her cheer through Facebook Live.

Support didn't only come from her family and coach, as other cheerleaders piled into her section and cheered for the brave solo cheerleader. Darin Boysen, executive director of the Nebraska Coaches Association, told the Omaha World-Herald that this was the first time a cheerleader competed alone.

But she didn't just compete—she placed 8th out of 12 squads, which is the highest Morrill High School has placed in the last three years.

"It's almost overwhelming, the amount of support I got from all of them," Kohel explained to Business Insider. "The whole arena was cheering me on. It wasn't just one little section—it was the whole arena."


This article originally appeared on 3.2.23

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Commence epic reply...


(full text transcribed under the post).

A Facebook user recently commented that the Eagles had "played like they were wearing tutus!!!"

Our response:

"With all due respect to the Eagles, let's take a minute to look at what our tutu wearing women have done this month:

By tomorrow afternoon, the ballerinas that wear tutus at Pennsylvania Ballet will have performed The Nutcracker 27 times in 21 days. Some of those women have performed the Snow scene and the Waltz of the Flowers without an understudy or second cast. No 'second string' to come in and spell them when they needed a break. When they have been sick they have come to the theater, put on make up and costume, smiled and performed. When they have felt an injury in the middle of a show there have been no injury timeouts. They have kept smiling, finished their job, bowed, left the stage, and then dealt with what hurts. Some of these tutu wearers have been tossed into a new position with only a moments notice. That's like a cornerback being told at halftime that they're going to play wide receiver for the second half, but they need to make sure that no one can tell they've never played wide receiver before. They have done all of this with such artistry and grace that audience after audience has clapped and cheered (no Boo Birds at the Academy) and the Philadelphia Inquirer has said this production looks "better than ever".

So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."

Happy New Year!

In case it wasn't obvious, toughness has nothing to do with your gender.

Gendered and homophobic insults in sports have been around basically forever — how many boys are called a "pansy" on the football field or told they "throw like a girl" in Little League?

"They played like they were wearing tutus" is the same deal. It's shorthand for "You're kinda ladylike, which means you're not tough enough."

Pure intimidation.

Photo by Ralph Daily/Flickr.

Toughness, however, has a funny way of not being pinned to one particular gender. It's not just ballerinas, either. NFL cheerleaders? They get paid next to nothing to dance in bikini tops and short-shorts in all kinds of weather — and wear only ever-so-slightly heavier outfits when the thermometer drops below freezing. And don't even get me started on how mind-bogglingly badass the Rockettes are.

Toughness also has nothing to do with what kind of clothes you wear.

As my colleague Parker Molloy astutely points out, the kinds of clothes assigned to people of different genders are, and have always been, basically completely arbitrary. Pink has been both a "boys color" and a "girls color" at different points throughout history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt — longtime survivor of polio, Depression vanquisher, wartime leader, and no one's idea of a wimp — was photographed in his childhood sporting a long blonde hairstyle and wearing a dress.

Many of us are conditioned to see a frilly pink dance costume and think "delicate," and to look at a football helmet and pads and think "big and strong." But scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll meet tutu-wearing ballerinas who that are among toughest people on the planet and cleat-and-helmet-wearing football players who are ... well. The 2015 Eagles.

You just can't tell from their outerwear.

Ballerinas wear tutus for the same reason football players wear uniforms and pads:

Photo by zaimoku_woodpile/Flickr.


To get the job done.


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