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COMMENTARY: Many of us could learn from Boulder City’s Frantz

The odds of Boulder City’s Avalon Frantz winning the 2012 Wendy’s High School Heisman trophy were 1 in 45,000, if one goes strictly by the number of applicants. If one goes by the number of high school seniors who were eligible? Well, the calculator on my cell phone goes only to nine places.

The odds of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel winning the 2012 Heisman Memorial Trophy were 1 in 10,710, if one allows that every scholarship player on every Division I-A college football team had an equal chance. Manziel’s odds became much greater when the interior lineman and most of the other positions besides quarterback and running back are eliminated. And the guys who play in the Sun Belt Conference.

Plus, Avalon Frantz didn’t have a well-heeled sports information department sending out pamphlets and trinkets with her likeness on front, or a cool nickname like “Johnny Football.”

And the last time I checked, Boulder City High School volleyball matches and girls’ basketball games and track and field meets weren’t being broadcast by Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson; they don’t even show highlights of Avalon Frantz’s games on 8 News NOW Plus Cox 128, fast becoming the low-definition television home of the equally low definition UNLV football program.

So when you weigh all that, somebody should give Avalon Frantz a medal.

Which somebody has.

She received a silver one for winning the state high school Heisman and a gold medal for being one of six female finalists invited to New York City for the award presentation in Times Square. She went to Ground Zero, saw the sights, met Johnny Football and Manti Te’o of Notre Dame — “they were nice.” And she applauded the high school winners, Sam Prakel of Versailles, Ohio, and Zoe Alaniz of Corpus Christi, Texas.

(She was supposed to meet Collin Klein of Kansas State, too. But Klein was off receiving another award, or studying for a trig exam, or purchasing dark sunglasses for the Fiesta Bowl — in case Oregon wears its screaming yellow uniforms — on the day the high school kids were supposed to meet the college kids, as Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski calls them.)

Frantz, who stands 5-feet-8 and has long blond hair and is more poised than Capt. Sully Sullenberger headed for splashdown in the Hudson River with the altimeter in United 1549 in freefall, also earned three Heisman patches for her letterman’s jacket (as if there was a place to put them). And Boulder City High will receive a $2,000 check, in her name, from the Wendy’s High School Heisman people.
She also has collected $175 in gift certificates from the Wendy’s Hamburgers people, none of which she has yet to redeem for a Double Stack or a Baconator or even a small Frosty.

“We don’t have a Wendy’s in Boulder,” she said after the Eagles’ 57-49 basketball victory at Faith Lutheran on a rainy Wednesday night.

I’m not certain if the Heisman Memorial Trophy finalists receive Wendy’s gift certificates. It might be against NCAA rules (cough). But at least there is a Wendy’s in Tyler, Texas, where Johnny Manziel is from.

(There’s also a Chick-fil-A in Tyler, out on Troup Highway. If I were Johnny Football I would stop there just as soon as I got home and put a deluxe chicken sandwich in the crook of the bronzed straight arm.)  

Whereas the Heisman Trophy is presented to the “most outstanding player in collegiate football” (i.e., quarterback or running back from one of the power conferences), to win the High School Heisman one must be good in sports and good in the classroom and good in citizenship. One also must write a bunch of essays, which would have eliminated most Ohio State players during the Jim Tressel Era, if the football Heisman had the same criteria.     

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Frantz said of her trip to New York for the high school presentation, which airs on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. today. “I know that sounds cliche, but it really was.”

During her high school career (so far), Avalon Frantz has made All-State Academic in volleyball and track and is a member of the student council. She has twice made the All-State volleyball team and holds state and school records for single game, season and career service points. She holds four other school records in volleyball. And she has thrown the discus 90 feet, 1u03A9 inches.

She has never thrown two touchdown passes and accounted for 345 yards of offense in a 29-24 upset of No. 1 Alabama, as Johnny Football has.

When I asked about which of her myriad accomplishments she is most proud, she blushed, because Avalon Frantz with the long blond hair and oodles of poise does not blow her own horn. But when I insisted, she thought about it for a moment.

“Maybe not an athletic accolade, but the thing I’m most proud of is I volunteer for Special Olympics. That’s the thing that means the most to me,” she said.

“I just showed up one day, not really knowing what to expect, and then I fell in love with it. I love working with those kids.”

And sometimes, she says, she works with 60-year-old Special Olympians in the bowling competition. She finds that rewarding, too.

She has never gotten into a late-night fight and been charged with three misdemeanors, as Johnny Football has.

And though Johnny Manziel has apologized for those indiscretions and seems to have gotten his act together off the field, too, he probably could learn something from Avalon Frantz.

A lot of us could.

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