Ludington Cheerleader Uplifts Crowd, Community
LUDINGTON – The Ludington cheer squad can be spotted on the sideline of the Orioles home games, pumping up the crowd, in hopes of helping the team to victory.
But sophomore Karlee Plamondon does more than pump up the crowd, she inspires the entire Ludington community. Plamondon lost part of her leg in an accident when she was young.
“I was four when I was in a lawnmower accident, and it’s really helped me grow and just learn that I can do everything just like everybody else, and not to let it define me,” she said.
With a prosthetic, Plamondon participates in sideline cheer, volleyball and softball. To many, she is an inspiration by what she can do.
“I have a lot of people that come up to me and they’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re such an inspiration,’ and it really means a lot,” she said. “And I just try and be a role model for others. I definitely love all my teammates and my coaches. They’re all so kind and encouraging. And they’ve done a lot to make me feel comfortable this season.”
Senior Erin Maltbie cheers and plays volleyball with Plamondon.
“Personally, I’m amazed by her and what she is. I play volleyball with her and on the court, and you never have a doubt in your mind that she not going to give everything she has to go get a ball or dive on the floor, or things like that,” Maltbie said. “I don’t think it’s a disability, I think it’s a strength she has and she shows it by all the stuff that she does.”
According to head coach Jennifer Shamel, Plamondon brings a lot of positives to the Orioles sideline cheer squad.
“We all adore Karlee. Karlee brings lots of energy and excitement. She’s always upbeat and never complains, she doesn’t want to be treated any differently than the other girls. Some of our cheers you know, we kneel, some of the cheers we do jumps, and she is right in there with those girls with a big smile on her face,” she said.
Assistant coach Abby Shamel agreed.
“There’s nothing she can’t do. I’ll say ‘Karlee, do a cartwheel, do whatever’ and she’ll say ‘ok.” Nothing stands in her way of doing anything, and she’s just awesome,” she said.
Whether it’s on the volleyball court, on the softball field, or on the sideline, Plamondon continues to prove that anything is possible, and has become a symbol of strength in the town of Ludington.
“I think for sure she’s definitely an inspiration to Ludington as a whole. Especially younger kids and girls and athletes that look at her or look up to her because she definitely doesn’t let anything get in her way,” junior Madelyn Shamel said.