Being a Champion is Not Only About Winning

by Jim Swartzendruber, St. Charles Athletics:
At a recent middle school wrestling meet John Franks (JJ) of St. Charles showed what sports are truly about. It was a very close to the end of the meet between New Lothrop, Millington, and St. Charles when JJ demonstrated what we all hope we can do in sports and life. John was scheduled to go against Lucas Jackett from Millington. Lucas has down syndrome. The match started with the official helping Lucas to line up on the mat. After the starting whistle had blown, JJ stepped forward and Lucas got into a take down position. Each of them pushed against each other a few times. Then JJ fell backwards on to his back on the mat. He stayed there until Lucas’ coach could get Lucas to cover JJ on the mat; JJ then rolled to his stomach, then to his hands and knees. Lucas struggled a little but was able to get JJ back to his stomach on the mat once again, with JJ’s help. Lucas worked on one side of JJ to put in a half nelson but could no get it in. Lucas’ coach told him to try the other side and Lucas slowly switched to the other side. This happened once again with Lucas’ coach asking Lucas to try the other side once again. This time JJ raised his arm and allowed Lucas to put in the half nelson and roll JJ to his back. John put up a small struggle and then let Lucas pin him for the match. This was Lucas’ first pin and he was awarded a medal by his team after the match. Each team congratulated Lucas on his victory with him showing his joy in his victory. This was a moment for all to remember.

This is a perfect demonstration of caring for others, putting someone else’s feeling before your own, and a great showing of Bulldog Pride. Everyone should be proud of what JJ did this night; He brought honor to his team, school, and community with his action and showed truly what class and sportsmanship are all about. Thank you JJ for being a great person and ambassador for your school. By giving of your self is such a class demonstration of what you represent. This will not be forgotten by the St. Charles or Millington communities for years to come.
This article was published on the Millington School Athletic Page News.