Seth Franco, the first caucasian Harlem Globetrotter since the 1940s, visited RVHS with a message of inspiration this week.
When Seth Franco was in seventh grade, he wrote a paper talking about what he wanted to be when he grew up.
Like most kids his age, Franco dreamed of playing professional sports, and his passion was basketball. Over the years, Franco was able to live out his dream of playing basketball, and eventually he ended up playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. He was the first caucasian to play for the team since the 1940s.
While Franco’s message talks about following your dreams, he also talks about the realities of life and how important it is to recognize personal value is not based on how well one can spin a ball on their finger.
Franco, a motivational speaker, was in Redwood Falls Monday and through sponsorship from the Redwood Area Ministerial Association and Redwood Youth For Christ, he was able to talk about his life and to encourage students during a lyceum presented to RVMS/HS students.
“I grew up in New York,” Franco told the students, adding in life he was born to fail.
Born with hip dysplasia, a congenital misalignment of the hip socket, Franco’s basketball career was cut short, but he emphasized the fact that when it was finally discovered that diagnosis did not mean his world had ended.
It was just beginning.
Franco said while the diagnosis certainly slowed him down, it did not define him.
During the time he was unable to play, he did what he could – learning to do tricks with his hands and a basketball.
The initial surgery he had just addressed the cartilage damage in his hip, and he tried playing basketball again.
“I started playing street ball in New York,” he said, adding it was there where he made connections that led to a starring role in a movie which has yet to be released.
That also led to his audition with the Harlem Globetrotters who were impressed enough with his ball handling skills that he was offered a contract. His time playing professional basketball did not last long, as his hip dysplasia eventually led him to choose to continue playing basketball and walk like a cripple or have hip surgery.
So, his career as a basketball player came to an end.
While he could not play the game anymore, he continued to work for the Harlem Globetrotters as an ambassador for character education speaking to schools and other groups. Franco was invited to speak on a Christian broadcasting channel about his experiences and the faith that helped him get through the difficult times in his life.
That led to his current role as a speaker in schools, churches and other venues.
Franco, who grew up the son of a pastor, also said that same paper where he talked about being a professional basketball player also envisioned a role as a preacher.
While Franco may not be preaching every Sunday in a pulpit he is sharing his faith across the nation and around the world.
“Remember, everything you are going through is being done for a reason,” Franco told the students. “The world needs the best of what you have and only you can bring it out. Your life is important. Do what you do, whatever that is, with all of your heart.”
Franco spoke about his faith Monday night to a group of 60-plus students, as well as adults.
Franco said in life he has surrendered to God’s call, adding he believes obedience in the small things of life often lead to God opening doors to the bigger opportunities one may experience.
Franco expressed his appreciation for the ministerial association and Youth For Christ for bringing him to the community and the chance to speak to students.
To learn more about Seth Franco, visit his Web site at www.sethfranco.com. One can find a link to his Facebook page there as well.