Aug 1, 2009
The Associated Press has an amazing and touching story of one basketball team’s rare act of sportsmanship. It happened during a high school basketball game between the DeKalb, Illinois Barbs and Milwaukee Madison. It was the third friendly meeting between the two teams, and both planned a pizza party afterwards. However, one player from Madison was dealing with a personal tragedy and the game itself was almost never played:
Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntel 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 Johntel 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.
During the second quarter, Johntel came directly from the hospital to root his teammates on, and decided he wanted to play. This created a unique foul situation: not being on the pre roster and playing meant a technical foul and two free throws for the opposing them.
In a rare act of sportsmanship, the opposing team’s player deliberately missed the free throws, and this gave Franklin and the Madison players the inspiration to win the game