- Alma School District
Plourde, Lady Airedales adjust on the fly
By Kevin Taylor
There are very few off days for Tim and Christi Plourde's world. They wouldn't have it any other way.
Kailie Plourde knows this better than anyone. After all, there are games to be played, practiced to be driven to, memories to be earned.
"Games ... every single weekend," she said. "Mom's always got a practice to go to. Her only off-day can be Sunday, but that's only Sunday — unless there's a tournament going on."
Over the last year, getting to and from games wasn't something that was guaranteed. The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on everything from regular school to extracurricular activities — the lesser of the two being basketball.
A senior, Plourde has a blended schedule that has her campus for less than half of her classes.
It's a 15-minute drive from Plourde's Mountainhome residence.
"Honestly, the only stain I've had on me is driving to and from home," she said. "It's been fun for me."
Coming together as a team has been a little bit more of a challenge.
"Compared to last year, it's just been hard for us to get together and hang out after school," Plourde said. "It's been hard to build a bond that we could have had. Other than that, I think the team's been a really good experience — other than (face) masks."
The camaraderie from her Alma teammates is just as big as the one she shares with siblings Savannah, Wyatt, and 12-year-old twins Izabella and Izaac.
"You can't do everything by yourself," Plourde said. "When you've had a bad day, it's good to come to practice and rely on your girls (teammates), and allow them to get your (spirits) back up."
It was 12:08 a.m. Saturday morning by the time Alma's green charter pulled into the school's parking lot adjacent to the school's auxiliary gym. Plourde, vivacious as ever following a four-hour drive home from Mountain Home, picks up her phone to call teammate Loryn Kelley — who is celebrating her 18th birthday three days after Plourde's.
"Happy birthday," Plourde says. Soon, her teammates chime in.
January was a little hard on the Lady Airedales. They lost to Van Buren by eight (while playing without Kelley, the team's leading scorer). They lost some hard games, too.
But a day after losing to Siloam Springs by 37, Alma rallied from seven points down to beat Mountain Home, 56-53.
"Playing in the conference we're playing in, it's pretty rough," Plourde said. "You've got to take everything you can to score. Nothing is easy; nothing is handed to us."