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By Terra Clarke

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PSA: for those of you that have not heard the news, the famous Franklin boys will not be gracing us with their presence in this year’s AIBT. Please take a moment to process this information before continuing.

As we round the corner into December, there are many things to be excited about: two weeks off of school, an abundance of baked goods, and basketball, in particular, AIBT, and if we want to get really particular, the Franklin basketball team. For half the Arcata High School population AIBT is defined by the roar of the crowd, the music blaring through the speakers, and the smell of sweaty players and fans alike. For the other half of the population, it is defined by the feeling that takes over when the Franklin boys basketball team enters the gym. There are shrieks of excitement and tears of joy over the sight of their tall, muscular, sweaty bodies (for those of you who have not seen or experienced this anomaly, the reaction is much like what would be expected if a shirtless Zac Efron walked into a Starbuck’s full of teenage girls). The exhilaration is only heightened as hopeful girls ponder how they’re going to talk to these god-like specimens and how talking will make them friends, and maybe even more than friends, all in the course of a weekend. These ideas are only borderline psychotic, but what are teenage girls supposed to do at basketball tournaments? Actually watch basketball?

For many girls at Arcata High school the loss of the Franklin boys has left them distraught and questioning their life choices. Ivy Ricca initially responded with panic, “I’m moving. That’s the only reason I stay here!”

Since this comment, Ricca has been attending school sporadically and there is evidence that she has been taking sanctuary in the forest to cope with her emotions.  Senior Faith Long has also been going through the stages of grief. When Long first heard the news her heart was broken and a “wave of disappointment” swept over her. Long’s deep love for all things Franklin has even caused her to lose support of our very own team of studs. “I’d rather lose and still have Franklin than win and not have Franklin.”

Senior Maddy Hapgood was almost lost for words when she heard the news. She was still in shock when asked what she will miss most and blurted out, “the niceness that my eyes see.” After Hapgood explained her pain as feeling like she just lost her lover on an iceberg she shared about the toll our community will take, “I just feel like it’s a loss for the community”, said Hapgood, “AIBT just won’t be the same.”

For some fans of the Franklin boys basketball team their absence is less of a life ending disaster. Junior Jada Owens, who has made friends with the players over the last couple years, will miss their presence, but believes that she can live without them in her life. “It’s not that big of a deal since another team will probably replace them.” Owens said, “they’re super cute, but I think it’s a good change.”

Some students (mostly members of the male sex) are extremely unconcerned about the the absence of the Franklin boys. Science teacher Earl Peters seems to be unaffected by this event that is life changing for many other students. His only thoughts on the issue were, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

When witnessing the emotional trauma students were, and still are, experiencing, Senior Rio Crossen simply stated, “I think you guys are over-reacting.”

Yes, there may be some slight dramatization over the issue, but this year AIBT will be different. There will be fewer girls screaming at the dunk competition (whether this is good or bad is up to you), but maybe this will lead us to focus more on basketball and less on hunky basketball players. Despite the good or bad things their absence brings this AIBT, the Franklin boys will always have a legacy at Arcata High and will be sorely missed.