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Titans' ability to give: Trinity students create T-shirts for Rick Funk

Trinity honors longtime Trinity fan Rick Funk with T-shirts.

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Brooklyn Berger (center) with Myah Merry and Adria Haich. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson resident Rick Funk loves sports — the ability to be in the community to watch good, clean and healthy competition. Although he may not be as social as others, his warm, genuine presence speaks for itself. For Dickinson Trinity, Funk has become a beloved and respected man by the staff, parents and students. His genuine smile is something one could wear on a T-shirt.

And that's just what three students did, to honor the man that has become a beloved part of Trinity athletics.

During the 2020 Class B Region 7 boys basketball tournament, the Trinity student section honored Titans boys basketball head coach and Trinity Athletic Director Gregg Grinsteinner along with a special grandparent. The T-shirts turned out to be a major success and a popular trend at school, and the game.

One year later, Trinity junior student Brooklyn Berger and junior high students Myah Merry and Adria Haich decided to bring back the trend, but were unsure what to do, how to start or who to feature. But it was during a Trinity basketball game two weeks ago when the trio got its answer.

"Rick Funk came to concessions as he always does," Berger said. "After we saw Rick we thought that it would be a good idea to make shirts for him because he is such a prominent part of our school’s community and he is truly our No. 1 fan. We thought it would be cool to give back to him for all of the support."

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Berger added to what makes Funk such a special person at the Trinity athletic events, particularly basketball.

"He’s never missed a basketball game, except for when he was in quarantine and he missed four games," Berger said. "But he loves Trinity basketball, and that’s why we just decided to make the shirts because he’s so legendary. Rick is definitely our No. 1 supporter. Hands down."

With the idea officially in motion, the trio got to work. After getting approval from Trinity administration, the T-shirt operation was up and running.

The bright white shirt portrayed Funk's humble smile with basketball images in the background and the words "You're looking at the Legend." On the back of the T-shirt is the sentence "These are a few of my favorite things!" with images including a $10 bill, a basketball, a Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a bucket of popcorn.

The T-shirts were sold at $20 a piece, but the girls did not take a single dime.

All the proceeds will go to ABLE Inc. in Dickinson.

"We thought that would be a really good selling factor," Berger said. "And a lot of the people know Rick. Pretty much everyone in our school knows him, so it was a really great seller and fundraiser for ABLE as well."

It did not take long for the T-shirts to become a must-need item with the Class B Region 7 boys basketball tournament fast approaching. As of Monday, Berger did not know how much money the shirts have raised, but did say they were selling well.

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On Monday, in Trinity's first game of the tournament, the student section was completely snow white from the Funk T-shirts. The humbled gentleman had one of his own and enjoyed seeing the Trinity students honoring him on a postseason night.

" He’s such an important person to us, it’ll probably really just lift our spirits knowing that we’re playing the game in honor of Rick and all of his support for our school," Berger said.

With such a success rate in a small amount of time, Berger was proud of the hard work the trio was able to complete.

When asked if there could be another T-shirt selling event next year based on the success from the previous two years, Berger said she was interested in seeing what possibilities are available, especially with her group.

"It’s kind of a cool tradition now, I think, to be able to make different shirts for people, and it’s just a really fun project," she said. " It’s just been a lot of fun, and I’m just glad we got this all together."

With Trinity earning a 63-34 victory over Hettinger-Scranton on Monday, the team will now play Bowman County on Tuesday for the chance to go to the championship. Needless to say, Funk will most likely be making an appearance to cheer on his hometown Titans and will be greeted with warm smiles and cheers as he is now a Trinity legend, and the T-shirts prove it.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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