There has been a lot of talk about the heralded running game of the Georgia Bulldogs in the weeks leading up to the Rose Bowl.
Sadie Frame, who has grown up in a family of rabid Georgia Tech fans, can boast a strong ground game of her own.
She hits the floor running every day. Recently, she has given new meaning to the expression “holiday rush.”
Sadie has always been a moving target, but this month has been especially busy. She has spent the past few weeks studying for exams, then hurrying off to basketball practice at First Presbyterian Day School, where she is a senior.
While her friends have been checking off their Christmas shopping lists, Sadie has been sorting through registration forms for the inaugural road race she has organized. The first annual Dick Frame Fun Run will be held in Macon on Saturday, Jan. 6.
Sadie is founder and CFO (Chief Frame Organizer) of the event, which will honor her grandfather, Dick Frame, a volunteer track-and-field coach at FPD for the past 39 years.
Dick Frame, 77, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The 5K and 1-mile fun runs will raise money and awareness of the neurological disease, which impacts an estimated 100 families in Middle Georgia. The event will start and finish at the FPD track, which also is named in Frame’s honor. (Online registration at www.framefunrun.com)
Sadie calls her “Pop” the “strongest man I know.”
“This is my way to honor him for everything he has done,” she said.
But before she hosts the backyard race for her grandfather, Sadie will be racing off to California for the Rose Bowl — the nation’s oldest bowl game, nicknamed the “Granddaddy of Them All.”
Sadie is the reigning Cherry Blossom Festival queen, and will be featured on one of the 44 floats draped in flowers for the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.
“As it gets closer, it gets more exciting,” she said. “I’m trying to finish all these things so I won’t have to worry about anything when I get out there. By the time I get on the plane, it will be like, “Oh my gosh! I’m going to be in the Rose Bowl Parade!”
Sadie is accustomed to being on stage. When she was young, she was active in local community theater. I first met her when she was 6 years old on a trip to New York City with Theatre Macon’s Youth Actors Company in November 2006.
At FPD, she has been a four-sport star in basketball, softball, track and soccer. She is a student ambassador, a member of mock trial and pep club, is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and carries a 3.96 GPA in the classroom.
She grew up selling pink lemonade to tour buses along Oxford Circle on weekends during the Cherry Blossom Festival. In February, she was crowned the 2017 Cherry Blossom queen, making the Frames the only family members selected as “royalty” in the festival’s 35-year history. Her mother, Cheri Gunnells Frame, was a princess on the court in 1988.
Sadie has participated in several other pageants as preliminaries to Miss Georgia. Her platform has been ALS, which gave her the idea to organize a benefit road race to begin the new year.
She has participated in two parades – the Cherry Blossom Festival parade last March and Macon’s Christmas parade a few weeks ago. But those experiences pale in comparison to the Rose Bowl. The historic parade will be watched by hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets of Pasadena and millions of viewers in more than 100 countries around the world.
Sadie has been watching online videos of past parades to bring herself up to speed.
“I’ve been stalking them a lot,” she said, laughing. “I had no idea how big the Rose Bowl is. I had seen it a couple of times, but now I’m learning more about it and its history.”
Her parents, Rick and Cheri, brother Truett (10th grade) and sister Cammie (eighth grade), will accompany her. Both grandmothers will be making the trip, too. Cheri’s mom, Judye “Honey” Gunnells, recently completed her final round of radiation treatments for breast cancer and has two chemotherapy treatments remaining. Rick’s mother, Marty Frame, affectionately known as “Grammy,” has been her husband’s caregiver since he was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. She is thrilled with the opportunity to see her granddaughter in the parade she has watched since she was a child.
Of course, the Frames already had punched their tickets for California long before Dec. 3, when the Georgia Bulldogs were selected by the College Football Playoff committee to face Oklahoma in the semifinals.
Rick Frame has been catching some good-natured grief, since he is one of the most vocal Georgia Tech fans in Macon. He graduated from Tech, and his father, Dick, was a track star for the Yellow Jackets in the late 1950s.
“When Sadie planned some college weekend visits and tours, Rick said he would be more than happy to take her to Georgia Tech and Tennessee, but he refused to do the campus tour of UGA,” Cheri said. “That was not an option for him. So, the joke is that he won’t go tour the campus in nearby Athens, but now he’s traveling across the country to Pasadena. He said this will be the first time in his entire life he has ever cheered for Georgia.”
Folks have asked Sadie if she has extra tickets. They’re kidding, of course. Or maybe not.
Sadie expects she might have a few celebrities on her radar screen. The parade grand marshal is Gary Sinise, the actor who played Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
I asked who she would like to meet the most.
“Jake Fromm,” she said, laughing.
Frame meets Fromm. Sounds like a winner.
Ed Grisamore teaches journalism and creative writing at Stratford Academy in Macon. His column appears on Sundays in The Telegraph.