SPORTS EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of stories documenting the impact of the Goldman family on Lincoln High School basketball.
LINCOLN -- There was no shortage of well-wishers as Lincoln girls basketball players and coaches joined senior Jessica Goldman in celebrating her official commitment to play women's college basketball.
Goldman signed a national letter of intent with John Brown University, of Siloam Springs, on Tuesday, March 26 culminating a storybook impact of the Goldman family on Lincoln High School basketball.
Basketball enhances the lives of the Greg and Alicia Goldman household at Evansville and the family has embraced the sport. Greg excelled at basketball in high school as part of a Lincoln team in the 1980s winning 30 games before getting upset in the first-round at state. His enthusiasm for the game became contagious with all of his children, RaShelle, Shandon 'Biggie,' and Jessica, each leading Lincoln into a state tournament foray.
Jessica's signing means all three became scholarship athletes playing basketball at the next level following RaShelle, University of the Ozarks, at Clarksville; and Shandon, at Northern Iowa.
"Our family's really been blessed. You know with three of them playing college basketball at some level now -- either NCAA Division III, NAIA with Jessie going to John Brown (University) or 'Biggie' playing Division I, it's been a blessing to our family and I always enjoyed playing it when I was a young man and still watch it to this day," Greg Goldman said. "It's just always been a part of our family and I'm glad it kind of rubbed off on them. Not every family is that fortunate. We really love the game, we love the game."
Jessica agrees with her father that basketball is a divine gift.
"It provides a lot of opportunities for people and it's just such a big part of your life. Yeah, it's a gift," Jessica said.
Jessica thinks a student-athlete misses out on camaraderie which develops through the co-labor of practicing and competition if they choose not to go out for a sport.
"Team, team-building. Your teammates are your best friends and I think that's one thing that they really miss out on, and they miss out on challenging yourself because athletics push you in a way that like academically you never could," Jessica said. "It's just different and so I think they really miss out on challenging themselves. They don't really do that in building friendships that will last a lifetime cause I know I'm really close with all my teammates. That was the thing that I was most upset about after we lost, it's over, don't get to be with those girls anymore."
Jessica went out with a bang, successfully leading Lincoln into the State 3A quarterfinals after pouring in 30 points in a 48-47 upset of 2018 Class 4A state champion and 2019 Region 2 champion Central Arkansas Christian in the first round of the state tournament. That was followed by a 53-44 loss to Trumann. Still the conclusion of her high school career didn't dampen the positive impact on school spirit when a team goes to state.
"It brings like energy to a player on the court and you see your student section and they're all cheering up and it just brings a lot of energy to the game I'd have to say, and to the fans, too ... It brings everybody together," Jessica said.
Greg sees the impact affecting the school as a whole and spreading out into the community like ripples on a pond.
"I can even remember that when I played back in the 80s with me and Pat Summers and Tim Rich and Henry Burks and Paul Moorman, it was the talk of the town. Everybody was fired up," Greg Goldman said. "And just everybody was in a better mood. It's kind of like when the Razorbacks are winning. When the (football) Razorbacks go 2-10 or whatever there's not a lot of excitement in the fall around here and so it's kind of like that and it works on a local level, too, small level."
Greg identifies with the bittersweet emotions Jessica felt realizing the finality of the moment when the horn sounded closing the last chapter on high school basketball competition.
"Everybody's going to go their own way," Greg Goldman said.
Yet, Lincoln players and fans won't soon forget a memorable postseason journey that took the Lady Wolves through district tournament play at West Fork, to Regional action at Mountain Home, and finally a State 3A tourney trek that bridged Arkansas from Lincoln three miles inside the western border with Oklahoma all the way to Osceola High School about the same distance from Tennesee on Arkansas' eastern border.
The Goldmans have repeatedly brought Lincoln fans to their feet achieved through devotion to excelling at basketball creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Sports on 04/10/2019
Print Headline: Well-Wishers Throng Goldman Signing