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  • Sep 14, 2018
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  • Comments Off on Don’t Judge Horning by Her Size, It’s What’s Inside That Counts
  • YOUR'S TRULY, JEFF FALK
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IMG_7471BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – We all have stories to tell. And none of our stories are more important than any others.

Some of our stories are unique. Some of our stories are similar.

But understanding them can provide the basis for empathy. What you could call it is ‘the human condition’.

Kailey Horning’s story is one of inspiration, acceptance and the power of positivity . But it is one we must proceed carefully with, because if we don’t, we might just learn something about ourselves.

Horning is a sophomore varsity/JV sweeper on the Annville-Cleona field hockey team. Because the term ‘Little Person’ simply doesn’t do her justice, let’s just say Horning is vertically challenged.

Yet in many ways, vertically is the only direction in which she is challenged.

“People always ask me why I’m always smiling,” said Horning. “What else is there to do?”

“She’s the most positive person I’ve ever been around,” said Horning’s coach, Carrie Gingrich. “I’ve never heard her say a negative thing or complain about anything. We’ve worked hard to this point of the season and she’s been with us.  But some things are a lot more difficult for her.

IMG_7465“She came all summer. She wants to be here,” said Gingrich. “She wants to be here with the girls. She has such a positive influence on the team. She knows what she can and she can’t do. Some drills are a little more difficult for her. But I always try to get her involved.”

“Kailey is the most positive person on the team,” said senior teammate Lauren Schrader. “A day doesn’t go by where she isn’t smiling. She’s the energy that the team needs.”

On the hockey field or off, Horning’s approach is always unwavering: there are no such things as limitations or deterrents, just bumps in the roads and challenges. Positive, full speed ahead and never look back.

“I’m not sensitive,” said Horning. “I can brush a lot of things off. My teammates treat me well. They treat me like I’m just another person on the team.”

“It is inspirational,” said Gingrich, who’s in her first season as the Little Dutchmen’s head coach. “It’s a whole new territory for Kailey. Coming up to the varsity level, there’s a whole different speeed to the game. It’s a process, but it’s day-to-day and game-to-game. We’re glad she’s sticking it out. The girls love having her around and she loves being around the girls.”

“The only difference is our size,” said Schrader. “She’s awesome to have on the team. She goes out and busts her butt. She works so much harder than everybody else on the team.”

Bright, personable and engaging, Horning possesses a personality that simply makes her a pleasure to be around. In social situations, she’s also unassuming, supportive and reflective.

“I’m happy, I’m kind, I’m caring, I’m positive and I’m honest,” said Horning. “I just want people to accept me for who I am. I want them to treat me the way I treat them, and for the most part, that happens.”

IMG_7475“I stress to our field hockey players, ‘Yes, it is a varsity sport,'” said Gingrich. “But we’re trying to give life lessons too. I’m trying to teach them (her players) things they’re going to see the rest of their lives.”

“Kailey is no different than any of us,” said Schrader. “She really is one of us. This team loves Kailey. She’s so important to the team. She’s the best person on the team.”

So it would seem that Horning is flourishing in the team environment, that it may have gotten her in touch with another side of her. But her teammates have learned just as much – if not more – from her.

“I’ve been playing field hockey since the seventh grade,” said Horning. “During elementary school I heard people talking about it. I got interested in it and just kept playing.”

“I think everyone can learn something from anyone,” said Gingrich. “They’ve (Horning’s teammates) learned from her because of her challenges. Sometimes girls give up on things because they’re hard.

“It’s OK to play if you’re a little different,” added Gingrich. “We’re accepting of everyone. High school sports are so good for life lessons. When you come here, we want to teach you a lot more than field hockey.”

“She’s always positive,” said Schrader of Horning. “She’s a person you want to be friends with. She makes the most of everything. It’s hard to think of her as being different because we just don’t think about her size any more. I think it’s good to use Kailey as an example. When people judge Kailey for the wrong reasons, they should realize they’re the problem, not her.”

Certainly if winning cures all ills, then the 5-0 Little Dutchmen are well and thriving. Horning understands her role on the team and has done her part.

“I think things are going well,” said Horning. “At the beginning of the season I thought we’d do really well. Things are pretty much going the way I expected.”

IMG_7476“Over the summer, I really stressed lifting,” said Gingrich. “They (her players) were really committed and they knew my expectations. They committed in the summer and it’s carried over to the season.

“We played awesome yesterday (a 4-0 win at Lancaster Country Day on Wednesday),” Gingrich continued. “It was the best game we played all season. It ws the first time we played the full 60 minutes. We started to put it all together.”

 

 

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

IMG_74812018 Annville-Cleona Field Hockey Schedule

Date Teams OUTCOMES
9/04
6:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
0
3
9/05
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
10
0
9/07
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Mennonite
1
0
9/11
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
0
2
9/12
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Country Day
4
0
9/17
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Octorara
9/19
4:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
9/21
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
9/24
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
9/26
4:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
9/28
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
10/01
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon
10/03
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Annville-Cleona
10/06
1:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Brandywine Heights
10/08
4:00 pm
Octorara
at Annville-Cleona
10/10
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
10/12
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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