January, 2016

There is a video you have to see, and it’s at the end of this article. But, you have to know the backstory for your heart to swell as big as it should.

In the feel good story of the week, Franklin Road Academy (FRA) in Nashville, TN had their basketball team manager, Robert Lewis, dress out for Senior Night. They were playing the University School of Nashville (USN) basketball team, which Robert’s younger brother, Matthew Lewis, plays on. Robert has Down Syndrome and has managed FRA’s soccer, football and basketball teams throughout his high school career. As his mom, Judy Lewis, says, “Robert can fill a water bottle like nobody’s business!”

Last Monday night, FRA varsity basketball coach, John Pierce, told Robert that he wanted him to dress out for Senior Night. As excited as he was to dress out, no one knew if he would actually play. Robert’s parents were thrilled that this was not only happening, but happening on a night where FRA was playing USN.

The Lewis’ oldest son, now graduated, also played on the USN basketball team. So a love for basketball runs deep in this family. With their youngest now a junior that team, and then their middle son set to dress out for Senior Night for his school, FRA, Friday night was shaping up to be a big night for their family. Knowing they wanted to preserve this memory, they asked talented film student Jeffrey Malkofsky-Berger to come and record the game. Little did they know how the story would unfold.

With 90 seconds left in the game, and FRA holding a healthy lead, Coach Pierce called him up to play. As USN saw that Robert would go in, they tapped his younger brother Matthew from the bench to sub in and guard Robert. As you watch the video, Matthew is number 42. Matthew made sure to give his older brother room and encouraged him to shoot.

Robert missed his first attempt, but with just five seconds left in the game, he sunk a three pointer. USN’s Isaac Eskind was the first to hug him and then the gym exploded with all the students streaming down and cheerleaders on both side crying tears of joy.

See Robert, FRA's #45, and his brother Matthew, USN's #43, watching to see of the shot goes in. Note all the people in the stands wishing it in as well! See the whole story on StyleBlueprint.com
Robert and his brother Matthew watch to see of the shot goes in. Note all the people in the stands and the FRA bench … all are wishing it in as well! Image: Kelley Tansil
Robert Lewis StyleBlueprint
Matthew Lewis (USN #42) congratulates his brother Robert Lewis (FRA #45). You can just see Matthew’s smile, even with his back turned, can’t you?! Image: Kelley Tansil
Robert Lewis and Matthew Lewis StyleBlueprint
Brothers Robert and Matthew, after the game, one they will never forget! Image: Kelley Tansil

“There was a lot of love in that gym — from both sides,” Judy Lewis, Robert and Matthew’s mother, said.

FRA won the game 64-47, but we all know that everyone playing and watching this game were the true winners. Of all the wins and losses these two teams have faced over the years, this game is one they will be talking about for decades to come. This game showcased for all a story of sportsmanship, brotherly love and integrity.

Congratulations, Robert, Matthew, FRA, USN and a tip of the hat to you Coach Pierce. Thank you all for showing us heart and soul.

If you see the hashtags #brotherguardingbrother and #robertforthree, you now know what this is all about!

About the Author
Liza Graves

As CEO of StyleBlueprint, Liza also regularly writes for SB. Most of her writing is now found in the recipe archives as cooking is her stress relief!