Johnston Dragons Basketball Team Thanks Biggest Fan with Surprise Ceremony


JOHNSTON, Iowa — Jackie Sapp has been one of the biggest supporters of the Johnston Dragons boys basketball team for decades, and on Friday those years of hard-cheering were recognized by the team.

Sapp is a fixture in the stands at Johnston games but had to miss this year’s state tournament due to COVID-19. The Dragons finished as runners-up in 4A. The school had hoped to recognize her as a “Fan of the Game” at the tournament but couldn’t without her in the stands.

Sapp is also a teacher at Johnston High School and had been teaching from home. She returned to school this week and on Friday the basketball team surprised her with her belated “Fan of the Game” plaque.

“I was like holy cow, what is going on here. They clapped and I just was like, probably the best surprise memory I’ll ever have,” said Sapp. She is retiring from teaching at the end of this semester after 43 years in the classroom — 22 of those in Johnston.

Coach Brian Frick says Sapp is more than a fan, she’s a part of the team. “She always talks, we talk about the games or the kids or, you know, sports and things, how the season’s going. She’s a huge advocate for the kids in sports,” said Frick. “She also used to do on our live stream broadcasting for the basketball games both boys and girls.”

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