Now Hea's a FGF For Ya!

February 20th, 2009
By

In today's news you mostly hear about how bad the economy is, professional athletes juicing up (steroids) and even high school teams running up a score 100-0

But every once in awhile we get a true Feel Good Friday story to share as well to.... feel good about.   :grin:   

Read on and you'll see what I mean..........

 

By Tim Dahlberg | The Associated Press

The coach never considered any other option.

It didn’t matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn’t matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big-city team.

Something else was on Dave Rohlman’s mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded to his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.

Only this time it was different.

“You realize you’re going to miss them, don’t you?” Rohlman said.

Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.

It was a Saturday night in February, and the Barbs were playing a nonconference game on the road against Milwaukee Madison. It was the third meeting between the two schools, who were developing a friendly rivalry that spanned two states.

The teams planned to get together after the game and share some pizzas and soda. But the game itself almost never took place.

Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntell Franklin died at a local hospital. Carlitha Franklin had been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer, but she began to hemorrhage that morning while Johntell was taking his college ACT exam.

Her son and several of his teammates were at the hospital late that afternoon when the decision was made to turn off the life-support system. Carlitha Franklin was just 39.

“She was young and they were real close,” said Milwaukee coach Aaron Womack Jr., who was at the hospital. “He was very distraught and it happened so suddenly he didn’t have time to grieve.”

Womack was going to cancel the game, but Franklin told him he wanted the team to play. And play they did, even though the game started late and Milwaukee Madison dressed only eight players.

Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on.

The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same.

“We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench,” Womack said during a telephone interview.

“No,” Franklin replied. “I want to play.”

There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn’t on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws.

Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing.

Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn’t so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play.

“I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, ’We’re not taking it, we’re not taking it,“’ Womack said. “The refs told them, no, that’s the rule. You have to take them.”

That’s when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal’s hand went up.

He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.

His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.

It didn’t take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.

They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.

“I did it for the guy who lost his mom,” McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was the right thing to do.”

Franklin would go on to score 10 points, and Milwaukee Madison broke open the game in the second half to win 62-47. Afterward, the teams went out for pizza, two players from each team sharing each pie.

Franklin stopped by briefly, thankful that his team was there for him.

“I got kind of emotional but it helped a lot just to play,” he said. “I felt like I had a lot of support out there.”

Carlitha Franklin’s funeral was last Friday, and the school turned out for her and her son. Cheerleaders came in uniform, and everyone from the principal and teachers to Johntell’s classmates were there.

“Even the cooks from school showed up,” Womack said. “It lets you know what kind of kid he is.”

Basketball is a second sport for the 18-year-old Franklin, who says he has had some scholarship nibbles and plans to play football in college. He just has a few games left for the Knights, who are 6-11 and got beat 71-36 Tuesday night by Milwaukee Hamilton.

It hasn’t been the greatest season for the team, but they have stuck together through a lot of adversity.

“We maybe don’t have the best basketball players in the world but they go to class and take care of business,” Womack said. “We have a losing record but there’s life lessons going on, good ones.”

None so good, though, as the moment a team and a player decided there were more important things than winning and having good stats.

Yes, DeKalb would go home with a loss. But it was a trip they’ll never forget.

“This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime,” Rohlman said. “They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they’ll remember what happened in that gym that night.”

————

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org

 

Now DAT is truly a FEEL GOOD FRIDAY story! Mahalos to 9th Island Girl for sharing that with da WWD! Hui.

I can't even describe wat da heck was going through my mind aftah I read dat story but I do know dat human spirit is still alive out there in dis topsy turvy world..... but why is it dat these kind of stories come out of - wat appears to be - small town schools/communities? Has da "big city" no compassion? Is it so dog-eat-dog dat we fo'get to actually care?

I'm choke glad dat at least for one night in Milwaukee, sports helped a troubled soul cope and brought out da best in countless more. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to gain perspective of all things good and that's all it takes to keep the faith showing that good will is still alive and kickin' in this world.

Hilary Cooper said it best,

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

 

 

 

 

 

31 Responses to “Now Hea's a FGF For Ya!”

  1. islandgirl in nc:

    Awesome story BL! :) Just the thing we all needed to read right now to remind us things like this do happen. I think sometimes we only focus on ala the bad things happening around us when a gem like this comes out. Small but shining brightly! Have a wonderful aloha Friday folks!


  2. BananaFysh:

    Wow, that's an excellent FGF story BL!

    Actually had me in tears. :cry:

    Nice to read about these acts of class and sportsmanship, and just basic human decency. Kudos to both of the coaches for keeping everything in perspective as well.

    It's touching and uplifting to hear that kids like this are doing the right thing, especially when we hear and see their peers living their lives with a "sense of entitlement." I suddenly feel a lot more hope for our future generations knowing kids like this are out there. :D


  3. KAN:

    I saw this story too - made me cry too. We hear so much bad news about the worst of human nature that it's nice to get the good news about noble characters in action. FGF f'real.


  4. M:

    Good Morning BL! :)

    Now dats what you call FGF story! awesome! It made me tear too...


  5. J.P.K.:

    this story got some play from the espn/si podcasts that i listen to everyday. it was mentioned on three of the podcasts that i listen to. the student that missed the free throws actually told his coach up front that he was going to miss it. the coach said it was okay and let him in.

    it was a great story though and i'm wondering if this story was also mentioned on espn outside the lines or had it's own story on sportscenter like with that other basketball story the other year with that jason kid (sorry, can't remember his last name) that scored 20+ in the only game he played in.


  6. B:

    excellent FGF story. someone once said," when you're young you learn,when you're older you understand". these kids are wise beyond their years. props to their parents and coaches who instill morals and values on them.

    happy FGF everybodies!


  7. King Katonk:

    Thanks BL and 9th IG for the great story. I’m still trying to catch my breath.

    It’s too bad features like this never get proper recognition in the media. When you watch the news or read the paper, the focus usually leans toward the negative. Is it no wonder people go to bed at night depressed?

    I guess when BL takes over Andy Bumatai’s gig he can present his “Chicken Skin-Feel Good Friday” segment. Eh, you still need a sidekick?


  8. ZX6R:

    Good Story! Kinda reassuring in this day and age to see decent behavior in our young people (and those who mentor them) Thanks BL!


  9. roach:

    BL,

    Good one !


  10. NKHEA:

    Good FGF everybody :)

    Still wiping da tear from my eyes...niff..niff :(

    gatta go :) back latta's :D

    NKHEA...sniff...sniff


  11. kako mochi:

    OMG . . . you know, under this tough exterior, i'm a BIG SOFTY ~ i cry at everything!

    and this had me holding back the tears (i'm at work right now) . . . thanks for sharing BL & 9th island girl!

    have a good friday and weekend everyone!!


  12. uncle jimmy:

    great story with a powerful message..

    when something isn't right, stand up and take a position..

    great FGF message, BL..


  13. Ynaku:

    *sniff sniff* Now I cannot type. No can see da keyboard.

    Dats fo shua one feel guud story. How come we all no can play li'dat?

    Chee Hoo gang. Lesson Learned. Like in da Boy's Scouts. "Do a Good Turn Daily"


  14. Braddah Lance:

    islandgirl in nc:
    I think sometimes we only focus on ala the bad things happening around us when a gem like this comes out. Small but shining brightly!

    And sometimes we just need dat shmall kine light to keep us going yeah?
    .
    .

    BananaFysh:
    It's touching and uplifting to hear that kids like this are doing the right thing, especially when we hear and see their peers living their lives with a "sense of entitlement." I suddenly feel a lot more hope for our future generations knowing kids like this are out there.

    Rogah dat! btw, wat da heck you doin' up dis early/late? You must've just finished being on da ODDAH blog yeah? :razz:
    .
    .

    KAN:
    I saw this story too - made me cry too. We hear so much bad news about the worst of human nature that it's nice to get the good news about noble characters in action. FGF f'real.

    :grin:
    .
    .

    M:
    Now dats what you call FGF story! awesome! It made me tear too...

    You softie!
    .
    .

    J.P.K.:
    this story got some play from the espn/si podcasts that i listen to everyday.

    Haven't watched ESPN in awhile (I know I know.... WWD!) but dat's terrific if they picked it up.

    ....like with that other basketball story the other year with that jason kid (sorry, can't remember his last name) that scored 20+ in the only game he played in.

    Yeah, dat story is great too!

    Anoddah small town story no?
    .
    .

    B:
    excellent FGF story. someone once said," when you're young you learn,when you're older you understand".

    Wow! I've nevah heard dat before! Excellent quote!
    .
    .

    King Katonk:
    It’s too bad features like this never get proper recognition in the media.

    Hey! I put it on WWD! and gave it da recognition it deserves. :grin: Well you all should know me by now - I buck da trend. :wink:

    I guess when BL takes over Andy Bumatai’s gig he can present his “Chicken Skin-Feel Good Friday” segment. Eh, you still need a sidekick?

    Take ovah one of Hawaii's greats? Uh, I don't tink so but as far as a sidekick.... aren't they da ones da get made fun of? :wink: :lol:
    .
    .

    ZX6R:
    Good Story! Kinda reassuring in this day and age to see decent behavior in our young people (and those who mentor them)

    Yup! I'm sure there are many many stories like dis all ovah but I guess if we constantly hear about 'em we'd be "immune" to it yeah? Jus' like all da bad stuff on da news... kinda like, "oh, nothing new." Sad.... but true imho.
    .
    .

    roach:
    Good one !

    I wouldn't have shared it oddahwise. :wink:
    .
    .

    NKHEA:
    Still wiping da tear from my eyes...niff..niff

    You surah you nevah have too much chili peppah watah? :lol:
    .
    .

    kako mochi:
    OMG . . . you know, under this tough exterior, i'm a BIG SOFTY ~ i cry at everything!

    You and me both. :roll:

    and this had me holding back the tears (i'm at work right now)

    Well who isn't at work reading WWD!... das da only play I get from da WWD! Hui. :lol: And yeah, I had to go bathroom too fo' "hide".


  15. lakesidegt:

    BL
    I read your blog when I can and post infrequently, but this sort of reminded me of Bryan? (the minister's son), who had a couple of nice moments one baseball season.


  16. 9th Island Girl:

    I thought of you when I read the story, BL. Sounds like something you would do. Happy FGF, Kwonics, Lanceformers and Lurkers!


  17. 2B:

    Heard that story on the radio a couple days ago.

    Now that's true sportsmanship.


  18. Tankobu:

    Wow! Big mahalo to 9th Island Girl and Braddah Lance for the excellent FGF entry!!! You are right 9th Island Girl, das BL style, fo' sure!

    And Braddah Lance, for one pidgin guy, you sure are learned - quoting Hilary Cooper -- You are a gentleman and a scholar! I like come smart like you. :smile:


  19. tita leerz:

    keyboard shorting...too much water from my eyes.
    not good when you at work.


  20. BananaFysh:

    @BL - I could ask YOU da same question - what choo doing posting a new entry so late at night/early in da morning? ;) :razz:

    Nah, with this FGF story, was worth it! :D

    +1 for King Kotonk's suggestion for BL take over the Andy Bumatai show. The braddah may have been one of the greats, but you seen his show? Not so good. He's like one of those athletes that played past their prime, and now they are like a sideshow act. Sorry Andy - maybe gotta make room for the new blood.

    ;)


  21. Braddah Lance:

    uncle jimmy:
    great story with a powerful message..
    when something isn't right, stand up and take a position..

    Yeah, you don't see too much of dat going around so I challenge everyone of ya to step out of your shell and try..... I'll certainly try!
    .
    .

    Ynaku:
    Chee Hoo gang. Lesson Learned. Like in da Boy's Scouts. "Do a Good Turn Daily"

    You nevah graduate yet?
    .
    .

    lakesidegt:
    I read your blog when I can and post infrequently, but this sort of reminded me of Bryan? (the minister's son), who had a couple of nice moments one baseball season.

    Yeah. He was a real PROJECT that came to fruition... only took three years but dat's one boy I won't fo'get.
    .
    .

    9th Island Girl:
    I thought of you when I read the story, BL. Sounds like something you would do.

    Well.... I try.... I not perfect (nowhere close)... but I try to live right and das all I can do.
    .
    .

    2B:
    Heard that story on the radio a couple days ago.
    Now that's true sportsmanship.

    I tink went beyond sportsmanship in dis case - imho - more of an altruistic value/lesson that should not be forgotten.
    .
    .

    Tankobu:
    And Braddah Lance, for one pidgin guy, you sure are learned - quoting Hilary Cooper -- You are a gentleman and a scholar! I like come smart like you.

    Not even Braddah! I jus' no like get in trouble cause I know dat isn't "my" quote so had to cite da source. I remembah da words but gotta give props wen props are due right?

    Loooooong story about "getting in trouble"..... maybe fo' annodah blog... but then again, I no like get in trouble fo' writing about getting into trouble. :roll:
    .
    .

    tita leerz:
    keyboard shorting...too much water from my eyes.
    not good when you at work.

    So sorry. :oops:
    .
    .

    BananaFysh:
    @BL - I could ask YOU da same question - what choo doing posting a new entry so late at night/early in da morning?

    :grin: Well I did jus' come home from my bowling league.......

    +1 for King Kotonk's suggestion for BL take over the Andy Bumatai show....Sorry Andy - maybe gotta make room for the new blood.

    No ways... maybe if I looked like Brad Pitt. :wink: Maybe I just start out with vlogs once in a great while but I no tink I not made fo' da big screen... plus da camera adds 10 pounds dat I no need! :lol:


  22. Kelli:

    That was a very sweet story. It made me feel a lot better during these unfortunate times when a lot of people are struggling. There's still plenty of good in the world!


  23. lesliek:

    hi braddah lance:

    aww..sad, yeah? there is so much character on this team. to lose for the other team. what an awesome story.

    i like FGF's.. thank you for making the weekend start off good.

    leslie


  24. opso:

    huuu......now das one good FGF story dea BL! *trying to compose myself....sniff*

    good to know dat still get dis kine undastanding gestures and peeps dat "get it".
    and yeah.....dis kine stories no get da beeg kine recogmanition dat it deserves. deas still hope out dea! :D

    mahalos 9th Island Girl! *fist bump*

    and a happy FGF errbody! :D


  25. Coconut Willy:

    Good one BL! Teaching life lessons gives so much more than just athletic skills. Maybe A-Rod has learned a life lesson, the hard way.


  26. rayboyjr:

    Great story! You know we need all the good feeling stories we can get in these times.

    Too bad it sometimes takes tragedy to bring out the best in humanity. We should all live with care and compassion in our lives everyday. I still believe it's there in everyone.


  27. Bre:

    Thanks for sharing this great story.


  28. Bre:

    Oops! I meant news article. Sorry. What can I say? It's Friday and my brain has already shut down for the weekend.


  29. Braddah Lance:

    Kelli:
    There's still plenty of good in the world!

    Yup... just gotta find 'em at times. :???:
    .
    .

    lesliek:
    i like FGF's.. thank you for making the weekend start off good.

    And dat's wat it's all about! :wink:
    .
    .

    opso:
    good to know dat still get dis kine undastanding gestures and peeps dat "get it".and yeah.....dis kine stories no get da beeg kine recogmanition dat it deserves. deas still hope out dea!

    Gotta believe! :grin:
    .
    .

    Coconut Willy:
    Maybe A-Rod has learned a life lesson, the hard way.

    Yeah... you still can play and get paid AFTAH cheating! :roll: Ai-goo!
    .
    .

    rayboyjr:
    I still believe it's there in everyone.

    Me too! But it's hard most of da time cause people no show 'em almost like they shame fo' care these days. :???:


  30. 808Dad:

    Hey Lance,
    Why does it take children or teenagers to show us how we should all be? When do we lose this urge to do the right thing? Compare this to A-Rod who is one of the top baseball players and also one of the highest paid feels so insecure he has to cheat and use ROIDS. What gives.

    808Dad


  31. jaydee:

    Even though I read this story late it still makes me feel good....on a Saturday! :)