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Meet Johntell Franklin

Johntell Franklin has had a pretty remarkable week. Franklin is smack in the middle of what might end up being the feel good sportsmanship story of the year, and certainly the most heart-warming one so far in 2009.

Franklin, a senior basketball and football player at Milwaukee Madison High School turned tragedy and sadness with the loss of his mother into a story of sportsmanship, compassion, and all of the good things about sports. The most pertinent side of this story is that Franklin, a senior linebacker on the Madison football team is receiving quite a look from one Ball State University.

Amidst stories of poor judgment, even worse character, steroids and all other inherently awful things in the world of sport, this story, these teams and this young man find themselves learning exactly what sport and competition is supposed to teach us.

The full story can be found here.

A little excerpt…

At first, Johntell Franklin just wanted to watch his friends play basketball.

“I wanted to go and support my team,” said Franklin, an 18-year-old senior at Milwaukee Madison High School. “I’m a captain. I set an example.”

As it turned out, Franklin wound up teaching everyone in the Madison gymnasium a lesson – about friendship, about the value of sports, about themselves.

A somber cloud hung over the Knights as they played DeKalb, Ill., High School on Saturday, Feb. 7. News spread quickly that Franklin’s mother, Carlitha, had died earlier that day after a five-year battle with cervical cancer. She was 39.

Madison coach Aaron Womack Jr. was in Madison’s laundry room, washing the Knights’ uniforms from the previous night’s game, when he got the news.

“I didn’t have my cell phone with me back there, so by the time I heard, the junior varsity game had already started,” Womack said. “I headed straight to the hospital. Johntell, understandably, he was despondent.”

Carlitha Franklin had been in remission recently. But Womack said she had begun to hemorrhage on Saturday morning – while Johntell was at Wauwatosa East High School, taking his college entrance ACT exam. By late Saturday afternoon, the decision had been made to turn off the life-support system.

2 Responses

  1. Wow. This is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story all at the same time.


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