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Now, Fritsch says, she hopes the word is getting out to all families that might benefit from a program such as the Sparklers.

All of it is a godsend, Linda Lommen said. As a member of the Sparklers, her daughter "learns an awful Adidas Tech Super Jd

The Dakota Spirit Sparklers are an adapted cheerleading team, adapted to the team members' special needs. To hear the coaches tell it, though, what the Sparklers have adapted to mostly is receiving standing ovations.

Watching this from the sideline, Fritsch observed "like every team, every kid wants to be the flier. Every kid wants to be the kid in the air."

"They can be a little stubborn," she acknowledges.

"They're here to get down to business Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet and accomplish a goal," Fritsch says.

Start with the spring floor in the Dakota Spirit gym. What Adidas Rose 4.5 Release Date

"I'm a tumbler," Morgann announced.

This is not day care. In addition to the Sparklers, there are 15 other Dakota Spirit teams. The gym walls are hung with championship banners, and every flat surface is covered with trophies won by those teams. The Sparklers are part of the culture.

"They love people. They love the attention," says one of their coaches, Brianna Arthur. When they perform, they bring down the house. The Sparklers move people to tears.

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

Parents saw their kids shoulder the responsibility of carrying out a role on a team. They saw them following cues from coaches and volunteers, and they saw the progress their kids had made since the beginning of the season last September in doing all this independently.

Coaching them is a blast, Kemmis says. But this is still the real world.

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

´╗┐Cheers of joy for special spirit team

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

Sparklers coaches Kemmis and Arthur adjust their practices to draw out the best from children with autism, cerebral palsy, Turner syndrome and Down's syndrome, according to Kemmis. A college football coach setting forth the day's goals for offensive and defensive lines and backfields and kicking and punting teams might have been as busy. But he certainly would not have been any busier than Kemmis lining out the practice routine for her volunteers to incorporate her expectations for each Sparkler.

When she decided to form an adapted cheerleading team, Fritsch did it in part as a memorial to her own special needs daughter, Libby, who died at age 18 months. Through the years, the Sparklers' program has grown from a limited session to a full season. Donations from the Legends for Kids foundation and others have helped Dakota Spirit offer Sparklers scholarships to families with financial concerns and have offset the costs of expenses such as uniforms and makeup.

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

The working principle for the Sparklers, says Freitsch, is the question: "How can you make this cheerleader the best cheerleader they can be?"

The Sparklers, she says, are the embodiment of a belief that "anybody can learn anything. They might not have the same level of ability but success is in the learning, not in perfection."

lot as far as how to cooperate with other kids, about coordination and timing and socializing. They have so much fun here. Every coach she's had has been so good."

This amalgam of spangles and makeup, enthusiasm and delight will perform Sunday at the annual Dakota Spirit Valentine Classic. The two day competition featuring 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers from five states begins today at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.

Parents also watched the lively interaction among Sparklers, volunteers and coaches on the gym floor.

kid wouldn't like bouncing around for an hour as if they'd found an antidote to gravity? The Sparklers perform to music, and that gives a boost to any endeavor. Volunteers from other Dakota Spirit teams assist the Sparklers. Those volunteers act like their purpose in life is to encouraging the Sparklers to hit their marks, and their chief enjoyment was seeing them do so.

The Sparklers will be making the point again Sunday, no doubt to an appreciative audience. As ever, the crowd will get everything the Sparklers have got.

In the conclusion to the Sparklers' routine, 4 year old Rigley Bowar dropped from a formation peak into the arms of catchers. As he settled into their grasp, he wore the grin of surprise and glee of someone who found himself holding a Powerball grand prize ticket.

first impressions might focus on these kids' limitations, Dakota Spirit's goal is to get beyond that to highlight their gifts, says founder Robin Fritsch. Everybody's got gifts, she says.

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

For most of the practice Thursday, as the Sparklers worked on the component skills of their performance, parents waited outside in the lobby. Toward the end of the session, parents were brought into the gym to provide an audience as the Sparklers did the whole routine.

Morgann Lommen, 19, has been a Sparkler since the team began, about six years ago. Her tumbling run is featured in the routine. The average man or woman on the street might have executed such flips only inadvertently after stepping on wet linoleum or an icy sidewalk. Not only does Morgann do them intentionally, Linda Lommen says her daughter manages them despite a spine curved by scoliosis and impaired hearing and vision that adds to the challenge of staying on her axis as she rotates in the air.

Adidas Y3 Qasa High On Feet

If the world is against them, though, it was off the clock Thursday as the Sparklers went through a workout in preparation for their performance. It might have been possible to find a group in Sioux Falls having as much fun as the Sparklers, but it would have taken a real search.

"These kids have the world against them, and they give it their all. They're such an inspiration," Coach Ashley Kemmis says.

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